The Patriots’ biggest free-agent addition last year proved to be a massive disappointment in his first season with New England.

JuJu Smith-Schuster wasn’t productive in 2023 after signing a three-year, $33 million deal. The 2017 second-round pick was brought in to be an upgrade over Jakobi Meyers, but Smith-Schuster was limited to 29 catches for 260 yards with one touchdown over 11 games.

Some of those struggles probably could be attributed to New England’s dysfunctional offense and below-average quarterback play. But arguably the most significant factor in the wideout’s worst NFL season to date was his health.

“Last year (in May) I was probably at like 60%,” Smith-Shuster told reporters, Monday, per MassLive. “Right now I’m like 100%. So it’s a big difference. It’s not easy coming off a knee injury and having a long season and coming back really short. …I feel great, honestly. I feel great. I’ve never felt better. I’m just excited to finally be out here around this time and participating.”

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Smith-Schuster added that he was “never” fully healthy last season, as he kept “pushing through” injuries in order to stay on the field. The eighth-year pro doesn’t regret toughing it out and insisted his current health situation is “a lot different” than it was last year.

Of course, it remains to be seen if Smith-Schuster will have a chance to have a bounce-back season in New England. With a crowded wide receiver room at One Patriot Place, the veteran pass-catcher could be a cut candidate this summer.

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