As the New England Patriots were inside Gillette Stadium Monday morning to clean out their lockers following their season coming to an end in Buffalo, it marked the final time several players would be standing in the building as a Patriot.
One of those players? Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers.
The 2019 UDFA is set to hit unrestricted free agency after playing this year on a second-round tender that was worth just under $4 million. While he’s been on record saying his preference would be to return to New England, he has not put too much thought into any decision.
“Honestly, I haven’t even really gotten to that point yet,” he told reporters Monday. “I’ve been hurt all year, so I’m mostly excited to get healthy, get a little rest, see my family. After that, I’ll probably figure out what’s next for me.”
Meyers battled a handful of injuries throughout the season, including a knee injury that kept him out of Weeks 3 and 4, as well as a late season shoulder and head injury. In total, he suited up for 14 games but still led New England with 804 receiving yards — becoming the first player since Wes Welker (2010-2012) to lead the team in receiving in three consecutive seasons.
Now a free agent, Meyers will be one of the top two or three players available at his position and could command a contract in the $15 million range annually. New England will have those funds available to them, as Patriots’ salary cap guru Miguel Benzan predicts they will enter the offseason with roughly $35.5 million in salary cap space. They also should easily be able to create more if needed.
If Meyers is in the team’s plans for next season, he’s aware there is work to be done on the offensive side of the ball.
“That’s a loaded question,” he said when asked what the unit must do to improve in 2023. “That’s tough right there. It’s a lot of things. It’s hard to just pinpoint one thing and say, ‘Do this, and you’ll be better next year.’ The league could change next year. You don’t know what offenses will work next year or what plays will work. Really, as long as the guys come in ready to buy in and everyone’s just ready to do their job, that’ll be a good starting point.”
The Patriots will have until March 13 to try to lock down one of Mac Jones’ favorite receivers before he is free to legally negotiate with other clubs. Whether they do so or not is remained to be known.