There’s an element of uncertainty surrounding the highest-ranking member of the New England Patriots’ receiving corps.
Jakobi Meyers was limited in both of New England’s mandatory minicamp practices this week as he nursed an undisclosed injury. Meyers also has yet to sign the second-round restricted free agent tender the Patriots placed on him months ago.
Speaking with reporters Thursday for the first time since last season, the 25-year-old wideout addressed both his health questions and his contract situation.
Meyers downplayed the severity of the former, saying he’s dealing with “normal bumps and bruises” and following the practice plan New England’s coaches crafted for him.
“Just normal things, honestly,” he said in a video conference. “The coaches talked to me. They just had a game plan laid out. Those are some very big coaches that were talking to me, and you’ve just kind of got to trust them, you know what I mean? They pretty much know best. They’ve been around the game for a long time. So I put my faith in what they had laid out for me and just followed the plan.”
Meyers did not participate in team drills in either of the Patriots’ minicamp practices. His limitations, coupled with an excused absence for Kendrick Bourne on Day 1, created first-team opportunities for roster hopeful Tre Nixon, who caught all 10 of his targets across two impressive sessions.
As for his unsigned tender, Meyers said he tasked his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, with all contract negotiations while he focused on football. The tender would pay Meyers $3.99 million this season and set him up to hit unrestricted free agency next March.
“I’m kind of one of those guys who — I’m not too great at multitasking, to be honest with you,” Meyers said. “So once I got here, I talked to my agent and I was just like, ‘Whatever you’ve got to do. That’s why you get paid the big bucks. I’m going to try to do what I do best.’ So I kind of put it all on his plate, just trusting him, trusting the coaches, trusting the front office, you know what I mean? And now that I’m pretty much wrapped up here, I guess I’ll go back home and figure out what’s best for me.
“That’s all it was. It was more so just me trying to be able to focus on what was going on. We had a lot of new changes this year, so I just really wanted to be locked in.”
Asked whether he wants to sign a contract extension to remain in New England long-term, Meyers replied: “Definitely” — the same word he used when asked a similar question back in January.
“Who wouldn’t, honestly?” Meyers said Thursday. “It’s a great place to be. 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. God blessed me with that opportunity, and how could you not jump at it?”
Contracts require agreements from both parties, however, and at this point, it’s unclear how the Patriots view Meyers in relation to their future offensive plans.
The 2019 undrafted success story was New England’s top receiver in each of the last two seasons, catching a career-high 83 passes for 866 yards and two touchdowns in 2021. But the Patriots made two high-profile additions to their receiving corps this offseason, swinging an in-division trade for veteran DeVante Parker and moving up four spots in the second round to draft Baylor speedster Tyquan Thornton.
“At this time, I can only control what I can control,” Meyers said. “That’s just the effort I put on the field, how hard I work, and that’s really just what I’ve been trying to focus on now.”
Meyers said he expects the competition for roster spots within that position group — which also features Nelson Agholor, Ty Montgomery, Kristian Wilkerson, N’Keal Harry and Malcolm Perry — to be fierce.
“When there’s a bunch of guys who can be great, who can be good, and they’re all pushing each other to be better, there’s just no area to really slack off,” Meyers said. “So every day I go in there, I know I’ve got to be the best person, the best player. I’ve got to know the plays. Because I know everyone who wants this opportunity has the ability to step in and play at any moment, so I’m just trying to put my best foot forward.
“At the same time, we all still love each other, so it’s still a brotherhood in the receiver room. But we know there’s some talented individuals in that receiver room, and we all want jobs. We’ve all got families to feed.”