6 Patriots Most to Blame for Disastrous 2023-24 Season

These 6 Patriots are the primary reasons the team was a mess throughout the season

New England Patriots
New England Patriots / Elsa/GettyImages
3 of 6

4. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR

This one will be discussed years from now. As writers put together some of the worst free agent signings around the NFL, New England's decision to pay JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to be put on display time and again.

Smith-Schuster rose to fame as a TikTok star and part-time football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2017 through 2021. He was once a promising receiver with 1,426 yards in his second season but then he wore out his welcome following back-to-back seasons with just 8.6 yards per catch (although his TikTok videos did not slow down).

He was able to rehab his image with the Kansas City Chiefs who paid him $10.75 million on a one-year deal. He recorded 933 yards on 78 receptions for them which was enough to convince New England to break out a long-term deal. The Pats signed Smith-Schuster to a three-year, $33 million contract and he rewarded them with all of 260 yards on 26 receptions.

His numbers were even massively aided by a 90-yard performance against his former team, as he suddenly remembered how to play when they traveled to Pittsburgh. Outside of that game, he had four outings with single-digit yardage and three with under 15 — while appearing in just 11 games. It might be costly to move on but there's no way they can bring him back in 2024.