3 Patriots players auditioning for 2021 roster spot in Week 17

Patriots RB Sony Michel (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Patriots RB Sony Michel (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /
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Patriots WR Damiere Byrd (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

2. Damiere Byrd

Patriots WR Damiere Byrd has struggled with drops in recent weeks.

We’ve honestly lost count how many times we’ve regurgitated that the Patriots have one of the weakest wide receiving corps in the NFL this season, and fans will be hoping that they make upgrading it one of their top priorities once the offseason rolls around.

It’s admittedly difficult to properly evaluate the unit given how abysmal the aerial attack has looked for most of the campaign, but they’ve undoubtedly contributed to the struggles. The only member who’s done himself any justice is Jakobi Meyers. Everyone else should be considered expendable.

Assuming the Patriots don’t pull the plug on sophomore N’Keal Harry yet, late free agent signing Damiere Byrd could be the odd man out, especially after he dropped a wide open touchdown in the blowout loss to Buffalo last weekend. The fifth-year pro has had his fair share of bright spots this season, but his inconsistency — he’s averaging a drop for every 5.4 targets — has pretty much canceled out his successes.

Byrd was largely signed due to his experience with Cam Newton, and if the Patriots decide to move on from their starting quarterback, they have no reason to keep him. Then again, a strong showing against the Jets’ bottomless secondary could really bolster his case to get re-signed.