Least Valuable Player (so far): JuJu Smith-Schuster
In what feels like a predictable development, JuJu Smith-Schuster has been a disappointing signing through the first half of the season so far. Besides the immediate less-than-enthusiastic initial response to his signing, more disappointment came from seeing Jakobi Meyers let go to sign Smith-Schuster in his place.
It was a move by Belichick that was questioned from the start, and because of how the Patriots season has progressed, coupled with Smith-Schuster's lackluster performance, it continues to be labeled as one of the worst decisions by the head coach in recent memory.
From the first game of the season, it seemed like he would be integrated into the offense reasonably quickly. He recorded four receptions on seven targets for 33 yards against the Eagles in Week 1 and a similar stat line the following week. But since the first game against the Dolphins, his reliability has plummeted, leading to a nearly invisible presence on the field.
That may change now that Kendrick Bourne will miss the rest of the year, and DeVante Parker is continuing to recuperate from a concussion he suffered in Miami two weeks ago.
Smith-Schuster's usage will inevitably increase, and he must ensure moments like the final pass against the Commanders last week does not happen again.
Although he hasn't been the player Belichick and Co. were probably hoping for, it seems too soon to label him a bust. He's not been a valuable player thus far, but with half a season left on the schedule, there's plenty of time for that to change.
And hopefully, it does, for him and the Patriots.