If there’s one lesson we learned during the 2018 offseason, it’s that it pays to be a wide receiver.

Wide receivers were paid far more extravagantly than many expected during free agency last year. Remember when Paul Richardson signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Washington Redskins? Or when the Jacksonville Jaguars locked up Donte Moncrief for $9.6 million over one year? Albert Wilson signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Miami Dolphins.

Those kinds of deals are why we don’t expect the New England Patriots to retain wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, especially since Julian Edelman’s 2019 cap hit is just $4.5 million. It would be odd to pay Dorsett more than Edelman, right?

2018 STATS: 32 catches, 290 yards, three touchdowns

Dorsett also added five catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns in the postseason. It’s telling that Dorsett didn’t put up considerable production despite the Patriots’ wide receiver troubles in 2018. Edelman was suspended for the first four weeks of the season, leading New England to trade for Josh Gordon, who was suspended after Week 15.

Dorsett was the Patriots’ No. 2 wide receiver through Week 3, and their No. 3 option from Week 16 through the postseason.

POTENTIAL COMPETITION: Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers

Former Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea is now offensive coordinator with the Dolphins. Dorsett’s former wide receivers coach with the Indianapolis Colts is now in the same position with the Panthers.

PROJECTED DEAL: three years, $21 million

It’s really difficult to predict a contract for Dorsett. Wilson and Richardson had similar production before being locked up to big deals. We’ll project on the low side here. Dorsett could wind up getting more, however.

PRIORITY TO RE-SIGN: low given projected cost

It would be great for the Patriots to bring back Dorsett if he was going to be paid like a No. 4 wide receiver. We’re expecting a much bigger payday for Dorsett, and we can’t get over his troubles in finding a role during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. If Dorsett was worth the cost, he would have at least passed Chris Hogan on the Patriots’ depth chart last season.

Dorsett is a good player, but he just never found a consistent role as a trusted target of quarterback Tom Brady, despite showing promise and consistency catching the football. The Patriots can replace Dorsett’s production with a less expensive player. They do need help at wide receiver this offseason with just Julian Edelman, Braxton Berrios, Matthew Slater and Damoun Patterson currently under contract. Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson also are free agents.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images