JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki have signed with the New England Patriots!
Jakobi Meyers left the Patriots to join the Las Vegas Raiders and Jonnu Smith was traded to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Patriots' offense is going to look very different this year. We'll examine how JuJu's and Gesicki's departures have affected all teams involved in the transactions.
New England Patriots Sign JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki
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Impact on the Patriots
JuJu will more than likely replace Meyer's role as the slot/possession receiver for the Patriots. He can play on the outside but he has been used heavily in the short-area passing game for the past several years by both Kansas City and Pittsburgh (his ADOT has been under 7.5 yards for three straight years). Mac Jones may have found a new favorite target.
I've sensed a lot of negativity over Smith-Schuster, who has never lived up to his sophomore season ceiling. He can still be a solid WR though, as seen last year when he amassed 78 catches for 933 yards and three scores. Yes going from late-career Ben Rothlisberger to prime Patrick Mahomes can help with that, sure. The thing is, you still have to be good. Plenty of wide receivers have come into Kansas City and done little. Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, and Demarcus Robinson, for example. You might argue those names aren't on JuJu's level, and my reply is "Exactly." You still have to be good to produce, even with an all-time great QB at the helm.
There's a chance Tyquan Thornton steps up, but if he does I see that as more of a detriment to DeVante Parker than JuJu in the slot. I also think Rhamondre Stevenson will see a dip in the 88 targets he had last year, opening up a few more targets for other New England pass-catchers.
I think he'll end up being a WR3 in New England, being a consistent contributor in real life and in fantasy. He'll have his spike weeks but for the most part, I just see him as a reliable WR3.
Gesicki has the ability to do it, but I doubt he gets to a TE1 season in New England unless the touchdowns go his way. Though not as skilled as Gesicki, Hunter Henry has more experience in the system and rapport with Mac Jones. Plus you have the receivers I mentioned above as well (Smith-Schuster, Parker, Thornton). He’s in the streaming category for me until I see a reason to believe otherwise.
What about the Chiefs and Dolphins?
The Chiefs desperately need help at WR. Travis Kelce was and is an absolute monster, but he can't carry the load forever. Someone needs to step up. We saw flashes from MVS last year, and he'll need to level up his game. The same can be said for 2022 rookie Skyy Moore and for their mid-season trade acquisition Kadarius Toney.
There are still a few names out there in free agency, Adam Theilen and Odell Beckham Jr. being the top two. It's possible they bring in one of the veterans. I also won't count out Kansas City drafting a young talent in April. Given the current state of the roster, expect the Chiefs to add someone in the coming days/months (depending on which route they decide to go).
As far as Miami goes, they didn’t really utilize the tight end under Mike McDaniel. Gesicki and Durham Smythe combined for 72 targets. Jeff Wilson, a mid-season add, and Raheem Mostert combined for 66. Jaylen Waddle had 117 on his own. If anything this gives more receiving work for the running backs on the Dolphins. Tyreek Hill had 170 targets so I doubt his number can be much improved with Gesicki gone, but Waddle maybe sees a slight bump.
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