Patriots Poach Former Jets Wide Receiver

Florham Park, NJ May 31, 2023 -- Wide receiver, TJ Luther during the Jets OTA.
Florham Park, NJ May 31, 2023 -- Wide receiver, TJ Luther during the Jets OTA. /

The New England Patriots must find ways to be competitive during the 2023 NFL season with how tight the AFC East is shaping up to be.

With the team’s wide receiver room being one of their weaker spots this year, it isn’t surprising that the Patriots went out and poached a wide receiver from a division rival. After all, why not hurt a rival while helping yourself in the process?

Nevertheless, the Patriots have added former New York Jets WR T.J. Luther to their practice squad, per KPRC 2 Houston‘s Aaron Wilson.

Patriots Sign T.J. Luther

Luther, 23, was signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent in May after going undrafted in the 2022 NFL Draft. Even though he suited up in all three of New York’s preseason games, the rookie wideout failed to catch any of his five targets, leading to Tuesday’s release.

Still, it’s not unfathomable to imagine that Luther has some potential buried inside.

The Gardner-Webb product had a productive 2022 campaign with the Runnin’ Bulldogs, hauling in 55 catches for 1,035 yards and seven touchdowns across 12 games. His average of 86.3 receiving yards per game was an improvement over his 2021 clip (54.9).

What also makes Luther an intriguing practice squad addition is that he can contribute to special teams. He returned seven kicks for Gardner-Webb in 2021, averaging 25.6 yards per return with his longest being for 70 yards.

Luther’s addition comes less than 24 hours after New England signed WR Jalen Reagor to the practice squad. The extra wideout bodies are needed with Tyquan Thornton and Tre Nixon on the injured reserve, as well as DaVante Parker and Demario Douglas being banged up.

Whether Luther winds up suiting up in any games remains to be seen. However, if Bill Belichick was willing to poach him from the Jets, he must see something worthwhile in the rookie pass-catcher.

In the meantime, we’ll see if Belichick & Co. opt to add any more recently cut free agents before Week 1.