It’s safe to say that the 2023 NFL season hasn’t gone the way that Patriots fans expected. In what was supposed to be a year where we returned to prominence, New England is off to a 0-2 start following Sunday’s 24-7 loss to the rival Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football.
Even though it’s relatively early to be pressing the panic button, our situation is less than ideal. We’ve already lost two home games and are the only AFC East team without a win, meaning it’ll likely be an uphill battle to make the playoffs if things don’t change soon.
It’s clear that some offseason moves the Patriots made just aren’t working out. While that could change as the season progresses, myself and other fans wouldn’t mind a time machine to help go back and prevent some decisions from happening.
Here’s a look at three Patriots offseason moves that already look like disasters.
3 Patriots Offseason Moves Looking Disastrous
1. Signing JuJu Smith-Schuster
One day after Jakobi Meyers left to join the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason, the Patriots signed fellow WR JuJu Smith-Schuster to a three-year, $33 million contract.
It was a deal that many fans were hopeful about at the time. After all, Smith-Schuster was coming off of a 900-yard season that saw him play a role in the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl run and was expected to help Mac Jones take the next step forward under center.
Instead, we’re two games into the 26-year-old’s Patriots tenure and he doesn’t have much to show for it.
Despite playing 56.5% of offense snaps (second-most of all Patriots WRs), Smith-Schuster has only turned nine catches into 61 yards. He finished each outing with no more than 33 receiving yards — a number that he surpassed in nine of 17 regular-season games in 2022.
The more we see of Smith-Schuster, the less that I’m convinced that he can be a WR1. He hasn’t shown that he can take over games since joining New England, making it clear that he might not be worth his $11 million AAV.
He’s known for being a streaky receiver, but that can’t be the case if the Patriots expect him to be a true playmaker. If nothing changes, he’s only on pace for 77 receptions and a career-worst 519 yards.
Unless Smith-Schuster proves that he can take his game to another gear soon, it’s going to be hard for Patriots fans to accept this contract over the next three years.