Schefter says Sanu has long been a target of the Patriots, who tried to trade for him before this year’s draft. And with the Falcons staring at a lost season at 1-6, the time finally was right for Atlanta to make a deal to prepare for the future.
Sanu, 30, has 33 catches for 313 yards and a touchdown this season, his eighth in the NFL, and his 9.5 yards per reception are the lowest of his career as he’s fallen behind Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley in Atlanta’s passing-attack pecking order. He had a career-high 838 receiving yards last season. Sanu played at Rutgers with Patriots defensive backs Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty and Duron Harmon and safeties coach Stephen Belichick, son of New England Coach Bill Belichick.
According to Pro Football Focus, Sanu has the NFL’s fourth-most yards from the slot position since 2016.
The lopsided score Monday night hid the fact that the Patriots’ offense isn’t one that can consistently stretch the field. Quarterback Tom Brady averaged only 4.98 adjusted yards per pass attempt against the Jets, his second-lowest mark of the season, and is averaging just 7.4 adjusted yards per pass attempt over seven games, which would be his lowest such figure since 2006. He has thrown only four touchdown passes over the past four games, three of them in one game against the Redskins on Oct. 6.
The Patriots’ wide receiving corps has been beset by injuries, with Julian Edelman (ribs), Josh Gordon (knee) and Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) all on the injury report in recent weeks. New England’s experiment with former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown ended after just one game amid the NFL’s investigation into accusations of rape and sexual assault against him by one woman and allegations that he sent threatening text messages to another woman who had accused him of inappropriate conduct.
Sanu is under contract through the 2020 season. He thanked his former team Monday morning on Twitter:
Brady, meanwhile, greeted his new teammate via social media:
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