Curran: Jakobi Meyers' Free-Agent Exit Highlights Patriots' Value Disconnect

Curran: Jakobi Meyers' exit highlights Patriots' value disconnect originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Jonnu Smith made $ 27 million for his two years with the Patriots. He played 949 snaps, caught 55 passes and scored one touchdown.

That breaks down to $ 28,451 per snap, $ 490,909.09 per catch and $ 27 million per touchdown.

In four seasons, the Patriots paid Jakobi Meyers $6.016 million. He played 2,716 snaps, caught 235 passes and scored eight touchdowns.

That breaks down to $ 2,215.02 per snap, $ 25,600 per catch and $ 752,000 per touchdown.

The Patriots moved on from Smith on Monday, realizing they miscalculated terribly when they gave him a four-year, $ 50 million deal in 2021.

On Tuesday, the Patriots lost Meyers to the Raiders, who agreed to a three-year contract with the wideout worth upwards of $ 33 million. If the Patriots merely matched that offer, they’d be securing the services of a nice, dependable, hard-working, loyal, honest, brave wideout for seven seasons and $39 million.

Meyers reveals why he left Patriots in free agency

The four-year production from the undrafted Meyers is "value" personified. And no team has trumpeted that word more than the Patriots.

The Patriots might as well have taken a flamethrower to the $ 27 million they paid Smith. Or the $ 22 million they paid Nelson Agholor over the past two seasons. Or the $ 10 million guaranteed they gave Isaiah Wynn in 2022.

There’s no such thing as a sure thing. But at least you could be virtually certain that Meyers would give you SOMETHING.

Would $ 11 million per year be generous money for a guy not blessed with breathtaking size and speed? Yes.

But the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. And given the conga line of pass-catchers the Patriots have imported to do jack-squat in recent seasons -- Mohamed Sanu, Antonio Brown, N’Keal Harry, Nelson Agholor, Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene and Smith, to name seven off the top of my head -- maybe when they get one right they oughta try and hang on to him?

Unless! Unless … Meyers wanted to go to the Raiders. Maybe drawn by the warm bosom of Josh McDaniels and the Taj Mahal of training facilities in Vegas, there was little the Patriots could have done to dissuade Meyers from leaving.

That would be sucking on a whole new reality, wouldn’t it? Could a team capable of creating a stampede by turning the sign in the window from "CLOSED" to "OPEN" when Tom Brady was here now find itself peeking out and wondering where everybody went?

Could the combo of mediocrity, "meh" money and seeing Foxboro as a place where personal production goes to die be a deadly combination? After last year, Kendrick Bourne would probably hitchhike to Vegas given the chance.

The Patriots have pushed away from the table on several homegrown talents and been proven exactly right for doing so.

J.C. Jackson. Trey Flowers. Malcolm Butler. All of them got top-of-the-market contracts when they went from undrafted (Flowers was a fourth-rounder) to free agency. I didn’t quibble with any of those decisions (Jackson in particular).

But Meyers didn’t leave for anything close to top-of-the-market. Among wideouts, an $ 11 million per year average puts him at 27th!!!!!

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The Patriots certainly are going to add receivers between now and opening day. (Hopefully more than Phillip Dorsett.) They’ll add someone who’s faster. Someone who comes with a better pedigree than undrafted converted quarterback turned tall/slow slot.

We’ll all expect said player to produce like his pedigree predicts. History shows he probably won’t.

History also shows that Meyers probably won’t be as good in his new home as he was here. The logic will be that the Patriots dodged a bullet in folding on Meyers. But they may also take a bullet if whoever they tab to replace Meyers doesn’t have the kismet or production with Mac Jones that Meyers did.

The easiest thing in the world, it seems, would have been to just re-up with a good player for a reasonable cost. Either the Patriots didn’t. Or Meyers didn’t want to. Neither reality is encouraging if you’re a Patriots fan.

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