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The Patriots Lose Their Most Unloseable Free Agent as Jakobi Meyers Signs with Las Vegas

What fresh hell is this? 

And so continues what is shaping up to be another one of those old school Patriots free agency periods where we can't have nice things. 

It's early yet, to be sure. And things could pick up at any moment. But as it stands in New England, this is that NFL Christmas morning where you can hear all the neighborhoods kids opening up their new gaming systems and laptops, while we're getting nice, practical, winter coats bought off the rack at Marshall's. Except so far we haven't even gotten the coat. 

I'm glad to have kept Jonathan Jones on a relatively modest deal. And Raekwon MacMillan, who got paid what a part time replacement part in Steve Belichick's front-7 rotation should get. But Jakobi Meyers was the one free agent they had it would truly hurt to lose. A guy who has been the unquestioned WR1 on this team since Julian Edelman was lost for the season - and for good - early in 2020. Meyers was the favorite, go-to target for every quarterback who's started since then, a line that began with Cam Newton and continues with Mac Jones. They can't all be wrong. Though now he'll get to go to Las Vegas and be for Jimmy Garoppolo what he's probably best suited for: Which is to be a very capable, reliable, sure-handed WR3. Able to win matchups over the opposition's third cornerback while the top pair have their hands full with Davante Adams and Mack Hollins.

The real nurple in this that will leave a mark is that amount Meyers ended up signing for, which is not only reasonable, it's less than most of us expected him to get. He was probably the best free agent wideout in a down year for the position. So I was prepared for seeing him leave if the numbers got ridiculous. But if you told me he could be had for three years, $33 million and $21 million guaranteed, I'd have been said he must be giving the Pats a hometown discount. Hell, I'd have said they ought to make it $11.5 million a year, just as a tip for all he's done since coming here as an UDFA rookie four seasons ago. No way I'd have thought they wouldn't match that offer. Not a chance on God's green Earth. Yet here we are. 

And so, if you're someone who is emotionally invested in this team, it's time once again to adjust your mindset. To accept the fact this isn't going to be one of those years where GM Belichick goes busting the doors in and starts wildly filling the shopping cart like he did two years ago. That if he's likely not going to make one of those sexy signings that the clerk has to take out of the locked glass case, like when he spent big money on Stephon Gilmore in 2017, Darrelle Revis in 2014, or Rosevelt Colvin in 2003. Get yourself used to the idea he's going back to the old ways of letting the others clear the shelves, then quietly go through the store picking over the remainders in search of bargains. 

By no means do I want that. I was hoping for a Tremaine Edmunds or a Jessie Bates III, not the football equivalent of some low budget Korean ripoff of Shrek pulled from the $5 DVD bin. And I want to take solace in the fact that this the approach that built Belichick's empire. And that they've lost a lot of guys they couldn't afford to lose, like JC Jackson last year, who was Pro Football Focus' third worst free agent signing of 2022 (paywall)

But this is not the time for that. That time comes later, after they've added talent to a roster in need of it. By spending some of the $28 million they have available. For now, it's just that time of the year a Pats fan has to endure. And until they actually add someone, I'm just going focus on the worst play of Meyers career and hope for better things:

Still, godspeed to Meyers. This is a great move for him, if not for us.