The New England Patriots previously had a resurgent 2021 campaign which allowed them to return to the playoff picture after a one-year absence. Despite their early exit against the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round, Bill Belichick and his squad still have a ton of things to look forward to for next season.
Now heading to the offseason, the Patriots are expected to get down to business as they currently have a long list of players who are set to enter free agency. Along with this, the front office will also need to tweak the rest of their roster in order to ensure that they achieve greater results next season.
1 surprise roster cut for the New England Patriots in the offseason
A player who is bound to be in danger of being cut for 2022 would be wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Many thought that the two-year, $24 million contract signed by the 28-year-old was a ‘steal' for the Patriots who were looking to revamp their offensive attack last season. Unfortunately, Agholor didn't get to live up to the expectations as he had an underwhelming campaign in 2022.
He went through one of the worst seasons of his career with totals of 473 receiving yards on 37 receptions and three touchdowns in 15 appearances. In fact, he only tallied a mere 12.1 yards per completion which was a significant drop from the 18.7 that he recorded with the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2020 season.
Despite seeing action for the majority of their games, Agholor failed to become a reliable target for QB Mac Jones. Yes, the rookie gunslinger didn't particularly throw a ton of longballs throughout the season, which was coincidentally the receiver's specialty as a downfield threat.
However, Agholor still lacked the production that was needed of him as a regular starter, given that their wideout unit already has a questionable depth, to begin with. The lackluster performance of their other weapons on offense, aside from Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne, didn't help at all and will surely prompt the team to be aggressive in acquiring better pass-catchers moving forward.
For the 2022 season, Agholor's contract is projected to have a $14.8 million cap hit for the New England Patriots. Cutting him after having a subpar season would be a strategic move, especially since they will also need to re-sign key contributors in Trent Brown, J.C. Jackson, and Ja'Whaun Bentley.
As mentioned earlier, the Patriots' receivers unit remains to be a work in progress after the 2021 season. If they opt to release Agholor's contract then they can potentially look at acquiring a young prospect in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft to shore up the depth of the room.
With the 21st overall pick, Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson is looking like an intriguing target for them in the first round. The Patriots can also snag a promising talent in Jameson Williams out of Alabama if he drops off the board due to his torn ACL injury. The two speedsters are capable of making an instant impact for the team when healthy, especially after the team's receivers evidently had a hard time against man coverage last season.
Surely enough, the New England Patriots will be looking to address their needs in the offseason in order to make it back to the playoffs next season. However, the contract of Nelson Agholor may just seem indispensable for them today, given that they need to prioritize extending the contract of other players and acquiring better contributors in the receivers unit for 2022.