Following the NFL draft and subsequent free agency period, the New England Patriots currently have 89 of a possible 90 players under contract. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive roster cutdowns on September 5 and ultimately make the active team. Over the course of spring and summer, just like we have in years past, we will take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots keep their dynasty alive in Year One after Tom Brady.
Today, the series continues with a member of the Patriots’ wide receiver group.
Name: Quincy Adeboyejo
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 10
Opening day age: 25
Size: 6-foot-3, 200 pounds
Contract status: Under contract through 2020 (2021 ERFA)
What is his experience? Before arriving in New England during the 2019 regular season, Adeboyejo already had two seasons of NFL experience on his résumé. He first entered the league back in 2017 as an undrafted rookie signing by the Baltimore Ravens, and spent most of his first year as a pro on the team’s practice squad. He was eventually promoted to the active roster, however, and appeared in one game for the club on offense and special teams (without registering any stats, though).
Adeboyejo spent his entire second season in the NFL on Baltimore’s physically unable to perform list due to a leg injury, and was released by the club the following summer. He went on to join the New York Jets midway through the 2019 preseason and found his way to the Patriots’ practice squad in late November.
What did his 2019 season look like? As noted above, Adeboyejo’s 2019 season started with his release from the Ravens: the team waived him with a non-football injury designation in late July. After one month without a team, he went on to join the Jets for an eight-day stint that saw him appear in one preseason game during which he did not show up on the stat sheet. His release during roster cutdowns was therefore little surprising — as was the fact that it took some time for Adeboyejo to find a new home.
Find a new home he did, however, when he eventually joined the Patriots in late November: New England signed him to its practice squad, and he spent the remaining six weeks of the regular season as well as its lone playoff contest with the club. While Adeboyejo was regularly used as a scout-team wide receiver, he was not promoted to the active roster and remained on the practice squad throughout the year.
What is his projected role? The Ravens employed Adeboyejo primarily as a perimeter option, but the Jets opted to give him increased playing time in the slot during his lone preseason contest with them last year. The 24-year-old could therefore have some value as a versatile X/Z-receiver hybrid in the Patriots’ system — a player who could be moved around the formation to take advantage of his size and quickness (Adeboyejo ran a 6.73-second three-cone drill at the scouting combine in 2017).
What is his special teams value? Adeboyejo brings considerable special teams experience to the table, even though most of it stems from preseason play: both Baltimore and New York used him on kickoff and punt coverage, while he also saw regular action as a force player on the respective return units. He should not be counted on as a returnman, though, based on his history both in the NFL and at Ole Miss.
Does he have positional versatility? As noted above, Adeboyejo was used both as an outside receiver and a slot option during his time in the league. His ability to line up all over the formation extends beyond the classic receiver spots, though: he also saw snaps as an in-line tight end and an H-back at one point during his stint with the Ravens. The Patriots could opt to give him similar responsibilities if they feel such a usage would suit his talents, even though the traditional receiver positions still project to be his priority.
What is his salary cap situation? After their playoff exit in mid-January, the Patriots opted to re-sign Adeboyejo to a one-year futures contract. The deal itself has a value of $675,000 — none of which guaranteed — and is therefore not among the 51 counting against New England’s salary cap at the moment.
What is his roster outlook? Despite New England not investing a draft pick in its wide receiver position this year, the team does have plenty of bodies under contract at wide receiver: Adeboyejo is joined by 13 other wideouts, all but three of them (roster locks N’Keal Harry, Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater) fighting for spots on the team. In order to emerge victoriously and carve out a role either on the 53-man squad or the scout team, Adeboyejo needs to take advantage of his raw athleticism and experience in the system, and show that he can succeed as a bigger outside target who could also be used in the slot and the kicking game.