The Patriots' offense has been heavily scrutinized this season, and in most instances, it is deserved. And one of the leading criticisms has surrounded the receiving corps. It has been a consistently underwhelming unit on the team in recent years, and despite the need for significant improvement this season, Bill Belichick didn't deliver.
Besides the questionable decision not to re-sign Jakobi Meyers earlier this year, a decision proven as a mistake, the only additions the Patriots brought in were Mike Gesicki and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
It was believed that Gesicki would be used as more of a jumbo receiver since he is not a sufficient enough blocker to be adequately used as a tight end alongside Hunter Henry. Although he seems to have all the potential in the world, we have yet to see exactly what he can really bring to the team.
But that isn't the biggest issue of the offense this season.
On top of the apparent mistake in choosing Smith-Schuster over Meyers, another offseason move made by Belichick is being called into question even more so than it was initially. When it was announced that DeVante Parker was signed to an extension to keep him in New England through the 2025 season.
Because of the number of receivers headed to free agency at the end of the season, re-signing Parker for a few more years made sense. But that is as far as the sense it makes goes.
Since being traded to the Patriots last year, he hasn't become a reliable piece for Mac Jones in the slightest. His most memorable moments have unfortunately been his biggest mistakes, with the latest occurring in the latest game against the Raiders this past Sunday.
A perfectly thrown pass by Jones to Parker, which would've been about a 47-yard pass, was dropped by the receiver. It was a play that would've put the team in a good position to, at the very least, get in range to kick a game-winning field goal.
To make matters worse, upon replay, the football went through Parker's hands exactly where it needed to be. Not the fingertips, like Parker suggested post-game; the football hit his palms and should have been caught.
His career in New England has had far too many of these moments to warrant a re-signing, especially when you have an absolute fireball like Kendrick Bourne on the team.
Considering how much better Bourne has looked since joining the team in 2021 and how integral he continues to be for Jones and the offense, the Patriots would have been better served to have extended him rather than Parker.
He was again a proven asset in the game against the Raiders, where he was the leading receiver with ten receptions for 89 yards. If used more and properly, he could be the right player to step into Meyers' place as the go-to guy for Jones.
Even when the offense was in shambles last year, Bourne was a momentum shifter. Despite his limited usage, he fired up the offense and moved the chains, another example of how beneficial he can be for the offense.
With the trade deadline around the corner, there have been a lot of talks about him being dealt, which would be another mistake by Belichick. Parker hasn't lived up to his purpose in New England, and instead of continuing to invest in an inconsistent player, the money should be spent on retaining Bourne for a few years longer.