6 Offseason Moves the Patriots Must Make to Return to the Playoffs Next Season

If the New England Patriots want to get back to the playoffs in 2024, they need to make these 6 moves

New England Patriots, Mac Jones
New England Patriots, Mac Jones / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Shed the bad veteran contracts at wide receiver

Back to the subject of Bill Belichick struggling with wide receivers. Not only did he have several draft misses which included Chad Jackson and N’Keal Harry, but Belichick also made some questionable moves when adding veterans. One that’s still haunting the team is the decision to sign JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Originally a second-round pick in Pittsburgh, Smith-Schuster wore out his welcome with the Steelers. His social media use spread to the field as he was taunting opposing teams by dancing on their logos and posting it to TikTok. His numbers started to take a nose dive and then in 2022, he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. While he did well with the Chiefs, there were enough red flags to prevent teams from handing out a multi-year deal.

New England didn’t heed the warnings as they signed Smith-Schuster to a three-year, $33 million deal. He then gave them just 29 receptions for 260 yards and one touchdown in 11 games. Now, heading into 2024, Smith-Schuster is set to account for more than $10 million against the cap.

He’s not the only veteran wideout who is making more than their production warrants either. Devante Parker comes in with a cap hit of roughly $6.5 million. Both deals are structured in a way that the Pats won’t get much relief by moving on but paying players to underperform could send the wrong message. That’s why getting them off the books is important in re-establishing the right kind of culture.