The Patriots’ biggest offseason move to date has been met with a fair amount of criticism.
New England addressed one of its biggest needs when it signed wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to a free-agent contract. Committing $16 million in guaranteed money to a player of Smith-Schuster’s caliber was a questionable choice on its own, but it was all the more puzzling when homegrown talent Jakobi Meyers left Foxboro to sign a nearly identical three-year contract in Las Vegas.
The Patriots’ Smith-Schuster signing was baffling to an anonymous AFC personnel executive who spoke with Heavy.com’s Mike Sando.
“That JuJu Smith-Schuster deal was a surprise,” the exec told Sando. “Big contract for an average player.”
Similar sentiments about the Smith-Schuster move were previously shared. Former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum believes the Patriots’ decision to sign the 26-year-old was the most head-scratching move of the offseason and longtime team captain Devin McCourty questioned the organization prioritizing Smith-Schuster over Meyers, who had established himself as a team leader before joining the Raiders.
That said, the criticism for the Patriots might be quelled a bit if Bill Belichick and company bring in a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver before the start of the 2023 season. And that could be on the table, as New England reportedly is among the teams most interested in Denver Broncos star Jerry Jeudy.