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Five Thoughts On Patriots’ Loss of WR Jakobi Meyers

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
2 weeks ago at 12:00 pm ET

Five Thoughts On Patriots’ Loss of WR Jakobi MeyersBrian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

This morning has already been a surprising one after New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers agreed to terms to join the Las Vegas Raiders.

Here are some quick thoughts on his departure:

1) The fact that the deal was for 3-years and $33 million seems like a deal the two sides should have been able to agree to here in order to keep him around, especially given the low price tag relative to the market.

A lot of the speculation leading up to free agency was that Meyers would potentially be offered a larger deal that would have made it tough for New England to compete with.  Instead, former coordinator Josh McDaniels is getting a player at a surprisingly low price tag for someone who continued to get better with each passing season.

2) If there is frustration with Meyers that made him apprehensive about coming back, it may have started last offseason.  The Patriots tendered him at the second-round level as a restricted free agent, which was worth $3.98 million, and not the first-round level, which would have been worth $5.4 million. That happened coming off a year where Meyers had once again been one of the most productive players on offense for the second straight season.

Meyers also didn’t immediately sign the contract, initially telling the Boston Herald he was hoping that he and the team could reach an agreement on a potential extension.   That never happened, and Meyers held out on signing it before finally signing the tender last June, two days before the Patriots could have potentially reduced the number the same way they had done with Logan Mankins back in 2010 after Mankins refused to sign his.

Fortunately, things never reached that point.

“It’s a great place to be,” Meyers told the Herald at the time. “The guys in the locker room — I’ve learned more about being a man just from them than probably my whole life. It’s just been great to be around those guys. It’s a great city to be in. I’m happy here.”

So it’s clear that while he may not have initially been happy about it, he ultimately signed it anyway and never let it become a distraction.

3) People seem to look at Meyers’s final totals last year, potentially forgetting that the veteran suffered an injury in week 2 and missed the next two weeks against both Baltimore and Green Bay with a knee injury.

The Boston Herald has since reported that the injury was apparently significant, with Meyers having played with a partial tear in his knee, gutting out most of the season while still being a key player in New England’s offense.

Despite the injury and the missed time, he still led the team with 804 yards receiving and scored six touchdowns, also a team-high.  He also led the team in 3rd down receiving in each of the last two seasons, which now leaves a hole that someone else will need to fill heading into 2023.

Losing Meyers leaves a big hole the Patriots now need to fill. (PHOTO: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

4) Meyers also didn’t seem to enjoy how things played out as a whole last season.  He was among the most vocal during the situation surrounding Mac Jones, where the second-year quarterback didn’t get much support publicly by Bill Belichick after suffering an ankle injury.

During that span where Bailey Zappe filled in and played well, there ended up being a lot of chatter by both the fans and media where Belichick never backed Jones as a starter.

The game against the Bears in Week 7 appeared to be the tipping point. Meyers expressed frustration after that one watching fans openly boo Jones in his first start coming off the injury, with Jones clearly still hampered by the ankle. Fans chanted Zappe’s name and he ultimately came into the game, leading to what was one of the most bizarre and frustrating nights we’ve seen in the last 20-years.

Following what ended up as a disappointing 33-14 loss, there seemed to be some discussion about it internally because Belichick’s approach changed the next week as he buried any further controversy by naming Jones the starter. But the whole situation, especially with the way it was handled by the coaches, seemed to rub Meyers the wrong way.

“Not even as a football player, it’s tough as a man to see somebody who worked so hard, get that kind of treatment, but at the end of the day, we’re all trying to feed our families,” Meyers said. “We have to make plays no matter who’s throwing (the ball).”

The two appeared to also develop a close relationship. Jones previously said he had hoped the two would be playing together for the foreseeable future.

“Jakobi’s one of the best — if not the best — teammates I’ve ever had,” an emotional Jones told reporters via NESN following the Patriots’ season-ending loss to the Bills in January. “He’s a great person. He comes to work every day, doesn’t complain. Does everything right. And he deserves everything that’s coming his way. So, hopefully, it’s with us. Yeah, he means a lot to me.”

Meyers also expressed some frustration at various points last year with the offense, which was led by Matt Patricia.

“I question what the plan is sometimes and how we’re going to attack,” Meyers told the NFL Network’s Mike Giardi last season.

As a result, especially with the frustrating finish to the season, there certainly seemed to be a fair amount of frustration on Meyers’s behalf last year.

5) What the Patriots do now is obviously going to be the biggest question.  While Meyers certainly wasn’t considered to be a number one receiver, it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a significant amount of slack that’s going to need to be made up for following his departure.

Some of that will likely come from Kendrick Bourne, who finished 2021 right behind Meyers with 800 yards after hauling in 55 receptions, including 5 touchdowns. He took a step back last season after seemingly being in Matt Patricia’s doghouse for much of the year, with Bourne catching just 35 passes for 434 yards and one touchdown.

However, one thing that stands out about Bourne is the fact that in 2021, under McDaniels, the Patriots did a great job of hitting him in space and allowing him to make plays.  Bourne averaged 14.5 yards per reception, which was best on the team for any receiver who had more than 12 receptions.

Bourne has been working hard this offseason, releasing a live video on his Instagram account on Monday as he got some work in during a private throwing session.

The team also has DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton, with Thornton also posting a video on his own account showing the receiver bulking up for next season.

For now, we’ll have to sit back and see how things play out over the coming weeks as they’re now definitely going to need to make at least one impactful addition to this group.  Keeping Meyers would have been a great way to at least keep the nucleus intact with the hope of replacing Nelson Agholor with someone who could have made this group more effective.

Instead, Meyers will be lining up with Devante Adams in Las Vegas next season, and Jones has lost one of his more valuable targets. It’s hard not to admit that this one certainly stings, and now Bill Belichick and the Patriots face the unenviable task of finding someone else to replace his production heading into 2023.

Posted Under: 2023 Patriots Offseason
Tags: Jakobi Meyers Las Vegas Raiders New England Patriots

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