On Tuesday morning, it was announced that New England Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers would be on the move in 2023. The 2019 undrafted free agent would be taking his talents to the sin city itself, Las Vegas.
Former Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers and the Raiders reached agreement on a 3-year, 33 million deal that includes $21 million guaranteed, as @RapSheet reported.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2023
Sources: The #Raiders are signing #Patriots FA WR Jakobi Meyers to a 3-year deal with $33M with $21M guaranteed. Another NE-Las Vegas tie-in, and a weapon for Jimmy Garoppolo. The deal was negotiated by Drew Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey. pic.twitter.com/tOUDNVrDUF— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2023
Yet another former Patriot joining former Patriot coordinator Josh McDaniels in Vegas. Jakobi, along with former Patriots Jimmy Garoppolo and Phillip Dorsett, have joined the Raiders in the early days of NFL Free Agency.
I think the “Patriots of the West” nickname could really stick here.
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Meyers departure marks the end of a productive four year tenure in New England. Putting it simply, Meyers has been the only receiver who’s found success of late in New England. He’s been the team’s best receiver for three years now.
Over the course of his four year career with the Patriots, Meyers amassed 235 receptions, 2,758 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Although not a regular participant in the end zone, Meyers was a big time chain mover for New England.
Whenever they seemed stuck on offense, Meyers would often times bail them out. It was a reason why he became a favorite target of both Cam Newton and Mac Jones.
Now catching passes from Jimmy G in Vegas: Jakobi Meyers 🙌@jkbmyrs5 | @Raiders pic.twitter.com/FtP3V3qCSH— NFL (@NFL) March 14, 2023
In the three years after Tom Brady, Meyers had 209 receptions, 2,399 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Pretty much all of his career production came after Brady, as you can see. On a team desperate for weapons, he emerged as really the only reliable one.
Here's the play I'll choose to remember Jakobi Meyers for in New England. #foreverne #patriots pic.twitter.com/IbFzsJASeN— Fitzy (@FitzyGFY) March 14, 2023
It’s ironic when you consider he was the one the team invested the least in.
Questionable Decision Making
Letting him leave for the Raiders was a questionable move. Now sure, many football pundits figured Meyers would leave New England. Especially when there were reports that Meyers wanted in the ballpark of $15 million per year.
Meyers has been great for the Patriots, but that’s big receiver money. As good as Meyers has been, the hard truth is that he isn’t a top option for an offense. He just was in New England because he was really all they had in a weak receiver room.
On most other teams, he’s a complimentary receiver. $15 million is not money you give to a complimentary receiver normally.
Here’s the thing, though. Meyers didn’t get $15 million. The Raiders gave him $11 million per year. Although some consider that to still be too high for a player like Meyers, that isn’t backbreaking. That’s below what the market was supposed to be for him.
So you could have had Meyers back for below the perceived market price. Not necessarily a bargain or a discount, but it’s still cheaper than expected. New England could definitely have afforded this.
Especially when you consider its pretty close to the same money the Patriots have payed Nelson Agholor the past two years. That’s right, they were willing to pay Agholor that money. Not Meyers, though.
I’m just going to leave this here:
- Nelson Agholor past two seasons with Patriots: 31 G, 68 Rec, 835 Yds, 5 TDs,
- Jakobi Meyers past two seasons with Patriots: 31 G, 150 rec, 1,670 Yds, 8 TDs
Feels like the Patriots should have no problem giving him what they gave Agholor.
NFL’s WR Graveyard
Aside from the fact that he came at a cheaper price tag, the more pressing issue is the state it leaves New England in. A receiver room that was weak and thin to begin with just got thinner and weaker.
The Patriots are left with a WR corps made up of DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, and Tyquan Thornton. Ouch.
At the time of writing, New England has not added someone to replace Meyers’ production. We haven’t even heard an inkling of someone the Patriots could be interested at going after.
Now look, maybe them letting Meyers go is a part of some grander plan. Maybe to make room for someone like DeAndre Hopkins or Jerry Jeudy. Maybe the plan isn’t quite clear just yet.
Either way, Pats fans like myself included should be worried. Bill Belichick hasn’t exactly had the cleanest track record when it comes to the WR position.
Perhaps we’ll get proven wrong. For now, though, the Patriots have possibly the worst skill position group in the NFL. They’ll need to change that if they want Mac Jones to progress.
Was Jakobi’s ceiling low? Yeah, what you saw is pretty much what you got. Meyers was a possession catch receiver. His YAC and his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands was not the best.
He was though the best receiver New England had, and could consistently get open. That’s more than you can say for most other New England receivers. As of right now, the decision not to bring back Jakobi Meyers is definitely a questionable one.
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