Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Jakobi Meyers entered the offseason pondering a return to the New England Patriots. Instead, the franchise reportedly showed little interest in him and the repercussions have already had a major influence on the 2023 NFL season.
Meyers signed a three-year deal worth $33 million to join Josh McDaniels and Jimmy Garoppolo in Las Vegas. While he was one of New England’s best offensive weapons in 2022, coach and general manager Bill Belichick chose to sign JuJu Smith-Schuster. It’s a choice that quickly backfired for the Patriots and has helped further derail their offense this fall.
- Jakobi Meyers stats 2023: 25 receptions, 274 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
Despite only playing in four games, including in Week 3 when he only played 17 snaps, Meyers has been very productive as the Raiders’ No. 2 receiver opposite Davante Adams. With Adams injured in Week 6, Meyers led the team in receiving (75 yards, 1 touchdown) on the way to a victory.
Meanwhile, New England’s offense has scored just one touchdown in the last three games. Highlighting the offensive woes, Meyers’ stats would lead New England in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Yet, it seems as if the Patriots were never serious about keeping him.
According to Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald, the Patriots weren’t all that interested in re-signing Meyers this spring. When Las Vegas started bidding for the veteran wideout, New England’s offer reportedly wasn’t close enough to even make a return a consideration.
Furthermore, per Callahan, Meyers quickly told new Raiders’ teammates that New England left him with the impression that he wasn’t wanted back. He reportedly told teammates regarding the Patrots, “They don’t want me” and New England didn’t even finish second for him.
Instead, the Patriots signed Smith-Schuster to a similar deal. The former Pittsburgh Steelers standout receiver was coming off a Super Bowl win with the Kansas City Chiefs. However, soon after signing Smith-Schuster, it became evident that his knee injury was a massive problem.
Smith-Schuster, who won’t play in Week 6, is seventh on the Patriots in receiving yards (86) and has just 15 receptions in five games. Based on his performance and durability issues, Smith-Schuster isn’t expected back in New England next year.
Choosing Smith-Schuster over Meyers was criticized by many around the NFL at the time of the signing. Months later, the decision seems to be one of the worst across the entire NFL offseason. Unfortunately for the Patriots, it’s just one of many reasons why they’re one of the worst NFL teams in 2023.