FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have acquired veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a second-round draft pick, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Sanu gives the Patriots an inside target, especially on third down, to help take pressure off top target Julian Edelman. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Sanu, 30, is in his eighth season and has 33 receptions for 313 yards and one touchdown this season.
With Edelman (ribs), fellow starter Josh Gordon (knee) and No. 3 target Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) all on the injury report in recent weeks, Sanu provides veteran insurance at a position where the Patriots are still adjusting following the release of Antonio Brown in September.
Undrafted free agents Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski have helped fill some of that void, but now high expectations on them will lessen. First-round draft pick N’Keal Harry is also eligible to return from injured reserve for the Nov. 3 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Patriots have long had an affinity for Sanu, who played at Rutgers alongside current Patriots defensive backs Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon, and entered the NFL as a third-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals. The club had been trying to trade for Sanu since before the draft, according to Schefter.
A second-round pick is a significant price to pay, but one reason the Patriots might have felt comfortable doing so is that Sanu’s contract extends through the 2020 season. The Patriots will pay Sanu a prorated portion of his $6 million base salary in 2019, and Sanu is scheduled to earn a base salary of $6.5 million in 2020.
In terms of draft capital, the Patriots are also projected to receive two third-round compensatory draft picks in 2020, for the free-agent losses of Trey Flowers and Trent Brown in the offseason. If that’s the way it unfolds, the Patriots would have a first-round pick and three third-rounders on the first two days of the draft. Compensatory picks are slotted in at the end of the round.