Patriots land Super Bowl champion wide receiver in free agency: report
The New England Patriots have reportedly agreed to terms on a three-year deal with former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Smith-Schuster’s deal is reportedly worth $33 million, with $22.5 million over the first two years guaranteed, per ESPN.
Coming off a Super Bowl victory, where his route-running led to a game-defining holding call to seal the win, Smith-Schuster hit the open market after a solid season with the Chiefs.
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The Patriots are in need of more talent at the wide receiver position, especially after Jakobi Meyers, their leading receiver in 2022, moved on in free agency to the Las Vegas Raiders.
New England could still be searching for more reinforcements on that front, but Smith-Schuster is an immediate upgrade to a group that was 20th in the league in passing yards per game.
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After five seasons in Pittsburgh with the Steelers, where Smith-Schuster made a Pro Bowl in 2018, he signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs to further his rapport in the league, and it paid off with Patrick Mahomes throwing to him.
Smith-Schuster benefited from playing in the league’s top offense, totaling 933 yards on 78 receptions (101 targets) with three touchdowns on a team that many believed would regress after their top option, Tyreek Hill, was traded to the Miami Dolphins.
They would instead go on to win the Super Bowl over the Philadelphia Eagles, where Smith-Schuster had seven catches for 53 yards. Eagles cornerback James Bradberry also pulled on his jersey as he ran for the end zone on a route, which led to a holding call that sealed the Chiefs’ victory.
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Smith-Schuster has been known as a social media guru, so to speak, during his career thus far. He’s been seen using Twitter to troll fans and fellow NFL peers while also creating a following on TikTok and livestream video gaming.
But he proved last season that he is a very good wide receiver that has trustworthy hands, especially when Mahomes needed to find a first down. Smith-Schuster finished tied 18th in the league with 16 first-down receptions in 2022.
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Patriots head coach Bill Belichick may still have something in the works as the Patriots reportedly checked in on the price tag for DeAndre Hopkins with the Arizona Cardinals while also being present at Odell Beckham Jr.’s workout. But it’s apparent the Patriots want more talent around quarterback Mac Jones.