Trying to find positives from the Patriots’ 2023 season is tricky. The most positive thing about the 2023 season is that it’s finished.
Signing JuJu Smith-Schuster to a 3-year contract
The two years left on JuJu Smith-Schuster's contract turned out to be quite the parting gift from Bill Belichick. The more you scroll through the list of players the Patriots had at their disposal last season, the more incongruous their performance seems.
Smith-Schuster missed six games this season, but even when he was playing, he was largely ignored by Bill O’Brien’s offense. He only saw 47 targets, and his 9 yards per touch was lower than Kayshon Boutte’s average for the season. He has had down seasons before, most recently in 2021.
Smith-Schuster followed that season by playing in 16 games, catching 77.2% of his targets and winning a Super Bowl with the Chiefs. After an off-season to reflect on the 2023 campaign and recover from his ankle injury, he’ll be like a new signing in 2024.