When it was reported that Jakobi Meyers was signing with the Las Vegas Raiders last offseason, many Patriots fans expressed their disappointment and sadness over Bill Belichick's seeming disinterest in re-signing the team's offensive rising star. He had essentially become the WR1 and developed a solid chemistry with Mac Jones and even Bailey Zappe.
There was hope Meyers would be prioritized in free agency because of the lack of offensive weapons and Belichick's constant hesitancy to spend big money on free-agent receivers, but once it was clear JuJu Smith-Schuster was signed to replace him, the bad taste in fans' mouths never went away.
The sour reaction worsened when their contract details were revealed, as there wasn't a significant difference between the deals. It questioned Belichick's thought process, especially since Smith-Schuster was coming off an injury that kept him sidelined at the end of the previous season. Yet Meyers had been as reliable as they come, and now he was leaving an offense that really needed his production.
Meyers took to social media to express his feelings on the matter, validating how many fans and media felt about the situation. And he is now speaking about it again, as he appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Felger and Mazz" earlier this week.
Jakobi Meyers doesn't regret moving on to the Raiders in free agency
Because he's seen far more success with the Raiders, even playing behind Davante Adams, Meyers was asked if he felt vindicated since the Patriots seemed not to believe he was worth a new contract. He agreed in feeling that way and also shared he has more freedom in their offense than he ever did in New England.
“I do as far as those lines. I feel like now you can see, like they just freed me a little bit and let me kind of go out there and do other things or make plays and try to really gear toward me. It would have paid off.”
And when it came down to the details of the contract situation, the receiver said Belichick wasn't willing to make a bigger offer, which he later revealed in the conversation to be just a million dollars.
“They just wouldn’t budge. At the end of the day, (Bill Belichick) didn’t want to move. And I respected it. Like it is his job to do what’s best for his team or what he thinks is best for the team. It just didn’t align on what I felt like I was worth. … They wouldn’t move.
I wouldn’t have minded staying. It would’ve been a different conversation. I probably would’ve thought about it a little differently. I did enjoy Boston… It was definitely a sting when I left, but I understand the business side.”
They say hindsight is 20/20, and maybe now that he's a year removed, he is more understanding of the business side of the ordeal. But it still doesn't sit right with Patriots fans because there was no legitimate reason to move on from Meyers when they did. It made even less sense to do that for a guy like Smith-Schuster.
It was further shown to be a bad deal throughout the 2023 season, with Meyers having the best year of his career and Smith-Schuster having his worst in an utterly messy offense that really could have used the former Patriot.
But maybe this was supposed to happen. Meyers seems to be thriving out in Las Vegas and enjoying his time much more than he did with the Patriots, so perhaps this worked out in his favor?
“There I had to prove who I was every day, every single day I had to be better. Here, I want to be better every single day, it’s different. Not to call people out or throw people under the bus, but I was more of a focus here than I was there. Where there, I was doing more of what I had to do to survive and feed my family.”
Unfortunately, the Patriots are the ones regretting this decision now and probably will for a long time, too.