Amidst the offseason drama from earlier this year, one of the biggest controversies came when Jakobi Meyers was not re-signed to the Patriots and wound up taking a contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.
It was the first time Meyers hit free agency in his NFL career, and because he became a fixture of the Patriots' offense over the last three years, most hoped he would remain in New England for years to come.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
The decision to let Meyers walk became one of the most discussed topics of the offseason. From Patriots fans expressing their sadness seeing one of the best players on the team leave to teammates of Meyers sharing their disappointment in Belichick for not keeping the receiver around.
It all got even worse when news dropped of JuJu Smith-Schuster signing with the team just two days after Meyers left, primarily due to his contract details being so similar to what Meyers received from the Raiders.
It's not the first time Belichick has let a player walk that most fans and players felt should've remained part of the team, and it likely won't be the last. But part of the reason Meyers leaving bothered so many people was that he didn't appear to receive the proper recognition and appreciation for his contributions.
We know that Belichick does not acknowledge individual players' performance or specifically go above and beyond to recognize them. However, Meyers' growth during his four seasons in Foxboro is extraordinary, particularly as an undrafted free agent walking into a legendary franchise like the Patriots.
That's something that Devante Adams spoke about when meeting with the media after the Raiders' first OTAs last week. When asked about his new teammate, Adams praised Meyers for his performance on the field as an opponent and now as a Raider while also noting he felt New England didn't highlight him enough during his time there.
"I didn’t see him featured as much as maybe he should have been based on what I saw when [the Patriots] came here and we practiced against them [last summer], and so far what I’ve seen from him now. He’s a pro. He’s got a lot of tools on the field, and the way he thinks about the game as a relatively young player is impressive to me, so I’m excited to work alongside him."
It's interesting to see another player's perspective on a tricky situation like this and on a player that Patriots players and fans truly loved because it's obvious how the fans will feel about losing a player like Meyers. Hearing it come from a new teammate somewhat validates how the fans felt about his departure.
Although he's not set to become a WR1 in Las Vegas, Meyers now has the chance to become the Raiders' go-to guy after Adams. With a solid connection to head coach Josh McDaniels and incredible support from one of the league's best receivers, it looks like he's in a good position well before the new season begins.