5 Patriots Leaving New England in the New Year

After a tumultuous 2023 NFL season in New England, don't expect these five Patriots to remain with the franchise in 2024.
Mac Jones is one of five Patriots who's likely leaving New England in the New Year.
Mac Jones is one of five Patriots who's likely leaving New England in the New Year. / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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2. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR

It's safe to say that JuJu Smith-Schuster's first season in New England was an absolute bust. 

While a portion of Smith-Schuster's down year can be attributed to lackluster QB play, the veteran wideout didn't exactly do himself any favors. Heading into Week 17, Smith-Schuster had only hauled in 29 of his 47 targets (61.7%) for 260 yards and one touchdown — by far, the worst performance of his seven-year career. 

While a bounce-back campaign is certainly possible, I wouldn't count on it. After racking up over 1,400 yards as a sophomore in 2018, Smith-Schuster hasn't had any productive campaigns outside of when he won Super Bowl LVII with the Kansas City Chiefs last season. As far as I can tell, the Patriots don't have a Patrick Mahomes to help him return to that form. 

The 27-year-old pass-catcher still has two seasons remaining on his three-year, $33 million, but that doesn't guarantee he'll remain with the Patriots for its duration. New England can save just north of $5.3 million in cap if they trade him before June 1, which jumps up to $8 million after that date. 

Furthermore, Smith-Schuster can also be waived after June 1 to save $1 million if the trade market is dry. 

Nevertheless, given that he isn't even 30 yet, I wouldn't be surprised if there's at least one team out there willing to roll the dice. If that's the case, the Patriots must move on to properly begin a new era.