Quick Slants

Curran: Pats made massive mistake letting Jakobi Meyers go

"Jakobi Meyers stands apart as the perfect example of what's gone wrong here in New England."

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One day after the New England Patriots' embarrassing loss to the New Orleans Saints came another bad look for Bill Belichick and Co.

Former Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who the team opted not to re-sign last offseason, helped the Las Vegas Raiders to a win over the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. He led Vegas with seven receptions, 75 yards, and a touchdown in the 17-13 victory.

Meyers now has 25 receptions for 274 yards and three TDs through four games played this season. The wideout who replaced him in New England, JuJu Smith-Schuster, has 14 receptions for 86 yards and no TDs through five games. New England's offense has scored only three points over the last two weeks and 55 in total.

Our Tom E. Curran believes Meyers' success exemplifies where Belichick and the lowly Patriots have gone wrong in recent years.

🔊 Patriots Talk: Jakobi Meyers is symbolic of where Bill Belichick and the Patriots have gone wrong | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"Jakobi Meyers stands apart as the perfect example of what's gone wrong here in New England," Curran said. "Maybe even more so than Tom Brady, which by 2020 was a pretty complicated situation. And maybe more so even than replacing (Josh) McDaniels with Joe Judge and Matt Patricia. The root problem there wasn't just hiring Judge and Patricia, it was not bothering to have a plan in place so that when McDaniels left, you weren't left grabbing the two nearest guys to do the job. And of course, thinking they could do it.

"But Meyers was a premeditated faceplant by the Patriots and Bill Belichick, in which the plan was to move on from a player that everyone but Bill Belichick could tell was one of their best and then replacing him with an injured player whose best days were behind him for God knows what reason."

Re-signing Meyers wouldn't have broken the bank. In fact, his contract in free agency (three years, $33 million) was nearly identical to Smith-Schuster's (three years, $25.5 million). Considering how useful Meyers was for quarterback Mac Jones and the Patriots during his time with the team, it was surprising to see Belichick pass on the opportunity to retain him.

"Think about it. Meyers was a value player the team got high production from for three seasons and just $6 million over those three seasons," Curran added. "Meyers was undrafted, worked his ass off. He wanted to stay here. The quarterback loved him. Bill didn't. Even though Jakobi was right in front of him for four years, he apparently didn't think that Meyers was $10 million good.

"And when he signed the contract, Meyers became the 27th highest-paid wide receiver in the league, but the Patriots moved on from him when they were already lean on wideouts and they brought in a guy who never did a thing for them, who it turns out isn't the guy he used to be while Meyers is just getting better. Look at the numbers so far this season. If you watched the Monday night game, you watched Jakobi Meyers turn in another outstanding night."

Letting Meyers walk is one of many misjudgments by Belichick over the last few years. From the draft to free agency and the trade market, the longtime head coach hasn't fared well with evaluating offensive talent.

And that, as Curran alludes to, is why Patriots owner Robert Kraft might have to have a hard conversation with Belichick at season's end if not sooner.

"It's the same kind of thing that happened with Brady," he said. "You can look at the offensive line with Brady and say, 'We'll figure it out.' Or with Jakobi going someplace else and say, 'We'll figure it out.' The point is when we look at Mac Jones and the offensive line and say, 'What's the problem with the offense?' Mac Jones didn't draft three guards and two kickers in April.

"And that's the problem. It seems that Bill doesn't know what a good offensive player looks like anymore. He lets the good ones go, he brings in ones that either couldn't play or didn't develop, like Pierre Strong, Kevin Harris, Dalton Keene, Devin Asiasi, N'Keal Harry, Nelson Agholor, or Isaiah Wynn. And that leaves Robert Kraft having a hard decision to make. Because these are all facts, ladies and gentlemen. They are not opinion."

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