What could the Patriots receiving corps look like in 2024? 

Oct 29, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84)
Oct 29, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

As former Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea and plane crash survivor Clint Eastwood once said, “Sometimes, if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.” And if that should be Jerod Mayo’s mantra this offseason. And after he’s addressed the offensive line, he should take the receiving corps into his own hands. 

According to BetMGM, Four percent of the passes thrown by the Patriots in 2023 were dropped by receivers. That might not seem like a lot, but the Chiefs led the league with 44 drops, seven percent of their passes, so it was pretty bad. And according to Fantasy Pros, 13% of the Chiefs’ attempts were rated as “poor passes” compared to 17% of the Patriots’.

So, from that point of view, the Chiefs’ receivers were worse than the Patriots, but they seemed to overcome that issue. If only the Patriots had Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. But they don’t, and if the Patriots want their offense to progress under Alex Van Pelt, they have to take matters into their own hands.  

According to the roster page of the official team website (which doesn’t list players on “futures” contracts), they currently have six receivers on the “active” roster (well, as active as they can be during the offseason). And three more on the injured reserve list. Four of those nine players will hit free agency in March, and one, Matthew Slater, is headed into retirement. One other is Kayshon Boutte whose future seems less than certain after his arrest.

Of the other three receivers, one, Tre Nixon, has never played a snap in the regular season. The other two are Jalen Reagor, who only started one game (but returned seven kicks and looked good doing it), and Kendrick Bourne.  

Bourne seems open to re-signing in New England, but economic factors will determine whether or not he does. 

Luckily, the 2024 draft class is packed with talented receivers, and with no Belichick to pick the next N’Keal Harry (or Malcolm Mitchell, or Aaron Dobson, or, well, you get the point. Even the great ones have a weak spot). They should be able to find some cheap options to fill out the receiving corps. 

But even if they retain Bourne’s services and find some gems in the draft, they will still need a number-one receiver. And importantly, there will be plenty of them floating around in free agency.  

Tee Higgins seems destined for the Bengals’ franchise tag. But even if you take him out of the equation, the free-agent class is headlined by Mike Evans. Calvin Ridley and Michael Pittman Jr. would also be intriguing options. And one talented receiver the 49ers have only scratched the surface of could be available.  

Jauan Jennings has the physical presence the Patriots offense so badly needs. And, as he proved in the Super Bowl, he can throw a pass or two. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry both threw passes when Van Pelt was the Browns' offensive coordinator. Landry went for a touchdown! 

After the last two seasons, having some razzle dazzle in New England would be nice. 

So, Mayo and the Patriots have the chance to take matters into their own hands. And (as controversial as it might be) if they build an elite receiving corps, maybe they won’t need to join the scramble for a new quarterback. 

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