Since Bill Belichick and the Patriots decided not to re-sign wide receiver Jakobi Meyers in free agency earlier this year and seemingly chose JuJu Smith-Schuster over him, the decision has been scrutinized.
It has continued to be a hot topic into the season, as Meyers has been a consistent playmaker with his new team in Las Vegas, while Smith-Schuster has struggled to find his footing in New England. Now that the two teams are set to meet in Week 6, fans and media members are reexploring the receiver's departure and have deemed it one of the biggest mistakes of Belichick's tenure.
With Mac Jones at the forefront of the offense's issues so far this year, it's brought up how valuable re-signing Meyers would have been to the team overall. Not only would he likely be the leading receiver on the team, but we know he had developed a solid chemistry and trust with Jones that made him the team's WR1, something they're severely lacking this season.
Meyers has proven himself to be an asset out west despite playing behind one of the best in the league, DaVante Adams. Through four games this season since he missed one due to a concussion, he's recorded 25/36 receptions for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
Compare that to what Smith-Schuster has done in five games, 14/25 receptions for 86 yards, and it certainly seems like Belichick made the wrong decision in not valuing what they had in Meyers.
With the Week 6 matchup on the horizon, Belichick was repeatedly questioned about his decision not to re-sign Meyers. He claimed they were heavily pursuing bringing him back, stating the receiver was a priority in the offseason, and said they were "relatively" close to getting a deal done.
But that is being discredited by the Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan, who alleges the Patriots were actually not that interested in retaining Meyers.
"In the lead-up to free agency, the Pats had been split internally on whether to retain Meyers, their leading receiver for three straight seasons. Sources believe front-office decision-makers sold Belichick on Smith-Schuster’s yards after catch ability over what they had in Meyers. That, again, served as a surprise to outsiders, considering the Patriots weren’t connected to Smith-Schuster in 2022 when he had also been a free agent."
Callahan also revealed that Meyers told his Patriots teammates in the days before signing with the Raiders, “They don’t want me," which makes sense when recalling the tweets he sent out around the time he signed elsewhere and Smith-Schuster was brought in.
It's an unfortunate situation, given the state the Patriots find themselves in right now, as they could really use a legitimate and reliable guy like Meyers to bring a much-needed boost to the offense. Smith-Schuster is set to miss the matchup, making it even worse for New England, and will likely be treated as a revenge game, and he may have all the tools needed to make it one.