Jakobi Meyers is the first domino to fall in the wide receiver free agency game. Just a day after inking Jimmy Garoppolo to a fresh deal, the Raiders signed the Patriots' free-agent wide receiver. Josh McDaniel is bringing back some of his favorite weapons from his days in New England.
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Jakobi Meyers and the Las Vegas Raiders agreed to a 3-year/$33M contract with $20M guaranteed.
Meyers has been among NFL and fantasy football's most underrated wide receivers. A New England offense led by Mac Jones limited his ceiling, but Meyers sat atop this free-agency class for good reason. He posted a target share above 22% for three straight years, never ranking outside the top 30 wide receivers. He is a technician as a route runner and boasts elite separation stats. This year, he came on as a red-zone threat and displayed play-making abilities with spectacular contested catches.
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Meyers didn’t start playing wide receiver until halfway through college, as North Carolina State recruited him to play quarterback. The learning curve in the NFL was steep, and Meyers failed to do much as a rookie. But he has looked excellent since 2020, averaging 6.8 targets, 4.7 receptions, and 53.3 yards per game. His early-career kryptonite was finding the end zone. After just two touchdowns on 248 targets through his first three years, Meyers finally regressed positively in 2022, scoring six times on 96 targets.
Looking at the Raiders’ current depth chart, Meyers slots in as the WR2 behind Davante Adams. However, trade speculation surrounding the 30-year-old Adams could quickly shake things up in Las Vegas, propelling Meyers to the top of the depth chart. As it stands now, though, Meyers is on a team with Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller, and Josh Jacobs. He is almost assured of seeing a dip from the 6.8 targets per game he’s garnered over the last few years.
Josh McDaniels has a penchant for preferring his guys. Both Meyers and Garoppolo played under his tutelage as Patriots. McDaniels is likely trying to instill “The Patriot Way” with his new team. Bringing in some veterans who know the culture should help him achieve that.
The Fantasy Fallout
Not that Jonnu Smith did much in the passing game, but the Patriots have shed him and Meyers from the team since free agency opened on Monday. Right now, DeVante Parker is presumed to be the Patriots’ WR1. However, Tyquan Thornton showed some promise in his rookie season between injuries. Nelson Agholor will occasionally show up as well. But Hunter Henry probably fills in a more featured role and walks away as the team’s biggest winner in the passing game. Parker probably outperforms Henry overall, but the positional scarcity of tight ends could push Henry into the fantasy TE1 discussion.
As the current roster in New England stands, there isn’t much to get excited about. Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe aren’t the long-term answers at quarterback. The lack of serviceable wide receivers will make the offensive output unpredictable. Rhamondre Stevenson stands as the immediate winner. The Patriots appear to be heading towards a full-blown rebuild, where they will likely lean on their young back.
Meyers was the lead receiver in a thin corps in New England. Suddenly finding himself on a loaded depth chart doesn’t help his value. While the potency of this offense is likely better than the Patriots’, Meyers will no longer be the No. 1 option in the passing game. If Adams is traded, Meyers will see a significant bump in value. But for now, he’s more likely a shaky WR3 at best.