Patriots Insider Predicts Former Pro Bowler to Be Cut

After a horrific 2023 performance, one New England Patriots insider is predicting that WR JuJu Smith-Schuster will be cut at some point this offseason.
Will the Patriots cut WR JuJu Smith-Schuster this offseason?
Will the Patriots cut WR JuJu Smith-Schuster this offseason? / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

NFL training camps begin in less than two months, meaning we're at the point in the offseason where fans and experts theorize potential cuts as the 53-man rosters begin to take shape. It won't be long before the New England Patriots begin to trim the fat — especially after several players underperformed last season.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is one player who left much to be desired in 2023. While the veteran wide receiver still has two years remaining on his contract, one Patriots insider won't be shocked if the former Pro Bowl playmaker is given the axe this summer.

Patriots Rumors: Is JuJu Smith-Schuster a Cut Candidate?

On Thursday's episode of his podcast, Patriots insider Greg Bedard discussed Smith-Schuster's future with the franchise. Bedard didn't mince words when discussing the situation, going as far as saying that the struggling wideout is no longer a fit with the team and that he'd "be surprised if he's [in New England] all that much longer.

Bedard's thoughts came a few days after Smith-Schuster revealed that injuries held him back from being 100% last season. The former USC wideout told reporters earlier this week that he feels like he's back to full health for the first time since signing a three-year, $33 million contract with New England last offseason.

According to the 27-year-old pass-catcher, his health was at about 60% during last year's offseason activities after undergoing knee surgery following the 2022 campaign. He added that forcing himself to play through his ailments prevented him from fully recovering, so hopefully he's learned to listen to his body going forward.

Regardless of the excuse, Smith-Schuster's poor play frustrated Patriots fans throughout the 2023 season. He only caught 29 of the 47 passes sent his way for 260 receiving yards and one touchdown in 11 games, finishing all but two contests with 33 or fewer yards.

As for a potential cut, doing so ahead of June 1 wouldn't save the Patriots any money. Instead, they have to wait until after that date to waive Smith-Schuster, freeing up about $1 million in cap space for next season, per OverTheCap. Having said that, a post-June 1 trade would yield $8 million in savings.

Regardless of how they could potentially get rid of Smith-Schuster, the Patriots will be fine in his absence. Demario Douglas is hungry for more results after a great rookie season while Kendrick Bourne is always a reliable option in the passing game. That's without mentioning the new arrivals like free-agent signing K.J. Osborn, as well as rookies Ja'Lynn Polk and Javon Baker.

In other words, the Pats aren't exactly dying to roster an overpaid 260-yard receiver.

Time will eventually reveal if the Patriots believe that they need Smith-Schuster to help them achieve success in 2024 and beyond. While players have rebounded from bad years before, nothing about Smith-Schuster's recent performances suggests that he's capable of a bounce-back year.

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