New England Patriots: 3 players that failed to produce in the 2021 season

New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor (15) Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor (15) Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /
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New England Patriots
Nelson Agholor #15 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots player that failed to produce No. 2: Nelson Agholor

The Patriots handed Nelson Agholor a 2 year, $22 million deal this past offseason with the intent of making him the offense’s top wide receiver. After all, he was coming off his most productive season in 2020 with the Las Vegas Raiders as Derek Carr’s favorite deep ball threat, and the thought process was that he would give Cam Newton a guy who can stretch the field vertically rather than horizontally.

Instead, Mac Jones ended up beating out Newton for the job, which put a real damper on Agholor’s role with the team. It wasn’t as if Agholor was outright bad, but his fit with the offense became much less apparent with Jones under center. Jones relied primarily on short passes all season long, and Agholor made his money on deep passes.

As a result, Agholor ended up being fairly underwhelming during his first season with New England. He finished the season with 37 catches for 473 yards and three touchdowns. By the end of the season, he had clearly fallen behind both Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne on the wide receiver depth chart, putting his future with the team in doubt.

The reason Agholor’s first season with the team might end up being his only season with the team is because the Patriots can get out of his contract pretty easily. They could release Agholor and create nearly $5 million in cap space for the upcoming free agency period. They could also trade Agholor and save close to $10 million in cap space. If Agholor wants to take a pay cut, go for it. Otherwise, there’s no sense holding onto a player who doesn’t fit the offensive scheme anymore.

They cap savings might not seem significant, but considering New England has players like J.C. Jackson and Trent Brown set to hit free agency, they are going to need every penny they can get if they intend on keeping their top available players. Agholor wasn’t awful this past season, but it’s clear the Patriots need to make some upgrades at wide receiver, and moving on from Agholor may be one of the moves that needs to be made.