If Bill Belichick has lost Tedy Bruschi, he’s lost Patriots Nation.
On ESPN Wednesday, Bruschi reacted to the Patriots’ signing of JuJu Smith-Schuster, and wasn’t very impressed.
“That better be just the start, OK?,” he said. “There is no cornerback in the AFC East that’s looking at that move and is scared, OK? The cornerbacks that are in New York, that are in Miami, it’s like, ‘We’ve got it. Don’t worry about it.’”
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Smith-Schuster, 26, put up a strong season with the Super Bowl-champion Chiefs in 2022, catching 78 passes for 933 yards and three touchdowns. The vibrant TikTok presence (3.6 million followers) played five seasons for the Steelers before signing with Kansas City last offseason. He topped 1,000 yards once in that span.
While the Patriots’ acquisition of Smith-Schuster is a welcome development, it’s hard to see how it improves the team, considering New England failed to retain Jakobi Meyers. He was the Patriots’ leading receiver over the last three years, catching 209 passes for 2,399 yards and eight touchdowns. In addition, he was Mac Jones’ favorite target. Jones publicly implored the Patriots to re-sign Meyers on multiple occasions.
Smith-Schuster, meanwhile, has caught 190 passes for 1,893 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last three seasons.
Statistically, they’re a wash. But given Meyers’ relationship with Jones, he probably would’ve been the better option.
Bruschi said he wants the Patriots to chase another top-flight receiver before free agency is over.
“As being a former Patriot, there better be something with [Jerry] Jeudy, there better be something with [DeAndre] Hopkins,” he said. “What Mac went through and that frustration last year, he needs more people to throw it to that are reliable and get separation and catch the ball. Bill, go to work.”