The Jakobi Meyers Question
NFL free agency begins in a little over two weeks (March 15th), and a topic for discussion in Foxborough is the potential payday for receiver Jakobi Meyers. The fifth-year pro from NC State had a breakout year with the Patriots and is poised to cash in this offseason—but should the Patriots potentially overpay for Meyers or aim higher?
Patriots Salary Cap Situation
Before we jump in, it’s best to look at New England’s salary cap going into the offseason. Based on current estimates, the Pats should have a little more than $34 million in cap space available when free agency opens, which would rank sixth in the NFL. Such financial freedom could allow the team to make some bold moves to improve the roster in 2023.
What Could Meyers Get On The Open Market?
If Meyers opts to depart, there will certainly be teams interested in his services. It has been suggested that he could receive a contract similar to what Christian Kirk received from Jacksonville last offseason—a four-year, $72 million deal with $37 million guaranteed. That would be a massive win for Meyers, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2019.
Is Meyers Worth That Type Of Contract?
Jakobi Meyers is a solid all-around receiver; he has demonstrated that he can fit into any offense as the number two or three guy due to his reliability. However, while he may be an above-average player at the two or three spot, it would be unwise for the New England Patriots to pay him like a number one receiver, who is expected to make huge plays with regularity. Though he is no slouch in terms of production, there’s certainly a difference between a reliable chain mover and someone who can singlehandedly turn around a game on his own.
The Mac Jones Question
The Patriots are faced with a big decision as they come up on the second to last year of Mac Jones’ rookie deal going into the 2023 season. He has shown flashes in his first two seasons but has yet to offer the consistency on a weekly basis.
The third year for a quarterback is the time they are supposed to make a jump in production, which is why you need to add offensive talent in an attempt to maximize results. The more playmakers they give him, the more chances he has to prove whether or not he is capable of leading the offense – putting them in a better position either way.
You saw what Stefon Diggs did for the development of Josh Allen, as he helped take that Buffalo offense to the next level. Taking this approach could give the Patriots a better indication of what Mac Jones is capable of, so they can make a more informed decision about his future.
DeAndre Hopkins Makes Sense
Personally, I have my eyes set on Cardinals standout wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, as adding him to the Patriots’ roster could be a game-changer for quarterback Mac Jones. The presence of such an experienced playmaker would enable Jones to demonstrate his true throwing ability as they open up the offense under offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
Also, for the first time in his Patriots tenure, Mac would have a top-tier wide receiver capable of making contested catches. They need to add that element of explosiveness they haven’t had since Tom Brady & Rob Gronkowski left.
Time To Aim Higher Than Mediocrity
I always say that franchises in the middle of excellence and failure have nowhere to go but down. This average state can be more detrimental than an all-in or all-out mentality because any organization needs a clear direction. Without the ambition and drive to pursue greatness, mediocre teams are content to wallow and eventually become irrelevant. That’s why New England needs to ultimately pick a side this off-season.
Respectable is no longer good enough in New England; success is measured not just by playoff appearances but by championships. In an AFC that features quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, and Justin Herbert, you need to have exceptional talent to be Super Bowl contenders.
Either decide to start over and go in a different direction, or truly go for it while you still have Mac Jones on a rookie deal.
Final Thoughts On Meyers
Ultimately, Jakobi Meyers is an important piece of the Patriots offense, but they really need to weigh the pros and cons of a big deal for a non-elite wide receiver. If Meyers gets the kind of deal that Christian Kirk got in free agency last year (4 years, $72 million), it would likely exceed what the Patriots are willing to spend for the position.
In a perfect world, they can add both, but if things get too out of hand, I wouldn’t be afraid to walk away from Meyers and allocate cap space somewhere else.