Patriots Free Agent Target: Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster


NFL Free Agency is right around the corner, and Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has some major holes to fill on his roster.  Every once an a while, the Patriots make a big splash on Day One of free agency.  Most recently signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore, signing him to a five-year, $65 million contract. 

Could the Patriots make another big splash in free agency and add wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster? 

Photo courtesy of Barry Reeger / Penn Live

Smith-Schuster in Foxboro downing the silver, red and blue with the flying Elvis logo on his helmet would get fans excited.  He would immediately fill a major void for the Patriots offense no matter who will be under center next season.  The uncertainty of who’ll be the next Patriots quarterback might hurt their chances of landing a marquee free agent.

Most recently, the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to restructure the contract of Ben Roethlisberger.  It will clear $15 million in cap space for the Steelers.  They could use that money to bring back Smith-Schuster. 

Despite the possibility he could return to Pittsburgh, he is a viable option for New England.  The Patriots could definitely use an upgrade at receiver considering Julian Edelman is coming off a lost season, Damiere Byrd was serviceable and Jakobi Meyers had a break-out year. 

Smith-Schuster has been reliable over the course of his young four-year career.  Last season, he played in all 16 games, catching 97 balls for 831 yards.  He was targeted 128 times and caught nine touchdowns. 

His antics will be something the New England media will harp on during the free agent courting process and if he actually signs with the Patriots. 

The former second-round pick in 2017 is active on social media.  While in Pittsburgh, he has helped build his brand selling merchandise and using Tik Tok.  In addition to his activity on social media, he began a new pregame routine last season. 

Smith-Schuster began to dance on the 50-yard line of opposing teams logo and posting the dance on Tik Tok.  His dancing on opposing team's logos is disrespectful and it may not sit well with Belichick or owner Robert Kraft.

Hall of Fame wide out Cris Carter appeared on The Pat McAfee show back in January and spoke about the polarizing wide receiver.  “I had warned people on TV that I didn’t think JuJu Smith-Schuster was the replacement for Antonio Brown; I didn’t think he had the overall wide receiver ability to be able to dominate, even though he started off with a spectacular season,” Carter said.  “Then I started to see how much he loved social media, and nothing wrong with social media, but I like to train my guys — become an expert at one thing first.”

There will be no shortage of options for the Patriots in free agency.  If Smith-Schuster elects to return to Pittsburgh the Patriots could turn to Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay or even Will Fuller.  The Patriots have $63 million in projected cap space, but all of those names mentioned will cost them $15-$20 million per season. 

The Patriots will have options this offseason, but it is unlikely they’ll spend big money on a wide receiver.  In the past New England has added mid-tier free agents in Brandon Lloyd, Donte’ Stallworth, Brandon LaFell and Chris Hogan.  Patriots fans hope that will change in a few weeks. 

New England has struggled in developing wide receivers that they draft.  It’s unlikely that New England uses a premium draft pick on another receiver like they did with N’Keal Harry. 

The Patriots need a quarterback and that will be addressed in free agency or through a trade.  If the Patriots decide to break the bank on Smith-Schuster, it wouldn’t be bad seeing him catch passes from Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Follow Chris on Twitter @chrishenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Patriots Free Agent Target: Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster
Patriots Free Agent Target: Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster
Boston Sports Syndicate
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