4 Patriots who are likely entering their final season with the team

These members of the organization likely won't help the rebuild for too long.
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We can all hope that the New England Patriots will be better in 2024 than they were in 2023. After all, there has been a coaching change and there will likely be a new and exciting quarterback in 2024. There is still enough talent on the defense to be good, plus Matthew Judon will be returning after an injury ended his 2023 season too soon.

But what can we truly expect from the team? A new coach and rookie quarterback might turn out to be good one day, but immediately? That might be expecting too much.

If the team is not successful again this coming season, there could be more changes. Of the three players that follow, only one is a free agent in 2025 so the other two will need to be released to make room for (hopefully) more productive players. The last person on this list might only last in his position for one season.

Juju Smith-Schuster is likely entering his last season with the Patriots

2025 cap hit: $10,133,334
2025 dead cap: $2,633,334

It is difficult to blame any one player for just how bad the Patriots' offseason was in 2023. If a quarterback does not have much time to throw then even Patrick Mahomes is not going to be overly successful.

But Smith-Schuster, when he was healthy enough to play, certainly didn't do many favors for his quarterback, especially at the amount of money he is going to get paid in 2024 and 2025. Moving on from Smith-Schuster this offseason made zero financial sense, but next offseason it does. New England would save $7.5 million by moving on from the receiver.

The important part is that Smith-Schuster has never been productive enough to be highly paid except for his 2018 season. That year with the Pittsburgh Steelers marked his only season with more than 1,000 yards receiving, but he also had 166 targets that season.

Since 2020, Smith-Schuster only has one season where he has averaged more than 10 yards a reception. This is awful for a wide receiver expected to stretch the field.

The Patriots are going to get better offensively as they cannot get much worse. But the team will likely add a quarterback in the 2024 NFL draft and the team will have new offesnive leadership with Alex Van Pelt. But in the future, the new QB and the new OC will need better offensive weapons than what Smith-Schuster is going to supply.