The New England Patriots entered free agency with two priority players about to hit the open market: cornerback Jonathan Jones and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. While the former was re-signed, the latter left to join the Las Vegas Raiders on a three-year, $33 million contract.
Meyers leaving the Patriots was not his preferred plan, though. He said as much before the start of free agency, and doubled down on this statement last week.
Appearing on the Rich Eisen Show, the 26-year-old gave some insight into his departure, and his four seasons as a Patriot.
“Just the business side of things took over. You know how it goes,” he said about leaving New England. “Of course, I definitely wanted to stay there, I’ve got a lot of family on that team. It would have been a cool opportunity, but I can’t even sit here and act like I’m not excited to be a Raider now. When I went out there, it was all smiles. It was all sunshine. So, I definitely had a good time.
“I wish the best of luck to my family that’s still there because they seen me through a lot those last four years. I appreciate them.”
Meyers originally arrived in New England as an undrafted rookie in 2019. Despite joining the club alongside first-round wide receiver N’Keal Harry, he was able to make the roster and develop a good rapport with whoever quarterback was throwing him the ball — from Tom Brady, to Cam Newton, to Mac Jones.
Through the years, Meyers therefore developed from a bottom-of-the-roster player to the team’s most productive wide receiver. He credited that growth to several people he interacted with during his stint with the Patriots.
“Coaches all the way down to custodians, I just tried to form a lot of relationships with the whole organization,” he said. “Guys like Cam Newton, Troy Brown, honestly it’s too many people to name. I met a bunch of people that kind of shaped me to become the man I am to day. Like I said, I appreciate all of them.”
Newton in particular stands out. Brought in to help replace Tom Brady after his departure during the 2020 offseason, Newton and Meyers formed a tight bond. During their lone season together — the veteran QB was released the following year in favor of Mac Jones — the young pass catcher took over as New England’s WR1.
“Cam, it’s actually deeper than just the Patriots,” Meyers explained. “I played with Cam when I was in high school, I played for his 7-on-7 team. So, just to see a guy who’s always been upbeat, energetic and loving life. It doesn’t matter what you threw at him, he was always the same guy.
“When he came to the Patriots I wasn’t in the best situation, I wasn’t really playing, and he was the guy that really sat me aside and said, ‘Just keep going. Keep pushing.’ He saw talent in me. Then when I got my chance, he got me the ball. So, I’m appreciative. I’m appreciative to a lot of guys out there, but he’s definitely one of the main ones.”
Also part of that group is Bill Belichick. While he ultimately made the decision not to keep Meyers in his dual role as head coach and de facto general manager, he too impacted Meyers’ career in a significant fashion.
Look no further than his team-first, do-your-job attitude.
“I learned how to mind my business. I learned how to handle the things I can control,” Meyers said about lessons learned from the future Hall of Famer. “I was just learning how to come in every day and just be a respectful guy and ultimately take care of the main things first. ...
“My job there was to be the same guy every day. I feel like I got to the point where they relied on me every day to be that same person and make the plays, to be a third-down guy, to kind of help the locker room with those younger guys. I was just trying to be the best of that.”