5 Patriots Who Have Played Their Way Out of the Team’s 2024 Plans

Which New England Patriots players already have one foot out the door?
New England Patriots
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2. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR

Through his first eight games with the team, it's clear that free agent signing JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of the Patriots' bigger free agent busts in recent franchise history. Smith-Schuster parlayed a Super Bowl win with the Chiefs last year into a three-year, $25.5 million deal with the Patriots worth a pretty hefty $16 million in guaranteed money.

With 22 receptions for an astonishingly low 149 yards and one touchdown so far, Smith-Schuster has played at worse than replacement level, and certainly not at the WR2 level his contract indicates he should be.

The Patriots' offense, as a whole, has been a disaster this season, but Smith-Schuster has played a role in that more so than been a victim. There is more than $12 million in dead cap for the Patriots to flat-out cut Smith-Schuster next year, but they might have to come to some sort of revised contract or move on from him regardless.

3. Tyquan Thornton, WR

The New England Patriots invested the 50th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft in former Baylor star Tyquan Thornton, and to say he's been a disappointment thus far would be an understatement.

Thornton has just three catches this season, but to his credit, that's an average of one catch per game. He did have 22 receptions in his rookie year with a pair of touchdowns among them, but Thornton's development has been far too slow for the Patriots to really make him a focal point of their 2024 plans.