Patriots WR ‘Needs to Take a Significant Pay Cut’ Says Analyst

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For the most part, the free-agent deals the New England Patriots swung were positive moves for the franchise. Matthew Judon led the team in sacks with 12.5 after signing a four-year, $54 million deal with New England.

Kendrick Bourne was one of the team’s best wide receivers (55 receptions, 800 yards and 5 TDs) and an all-around strong addition to the roster after he inked a three-year, $15 million contract. Hunter Henry led the team TD receptions with 9 after he signed his three-year, $37.5 million pact.

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On the opposite side of the free-agent signing evaluations is WR Nelson Agholor. He was a major disappointment. Grunt Talks’ Bobby Thompson noticed and he believes the Patriots need to force him to “take a significant pay cut or he needs to go.”

There is no question, Agholor, who was signed to provide the Patriots with a dependable downfield threat, was much less effective than the team hoped.

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Nelson Agholor Didn’t Have a Great 2021 Season

Agholor had just 37 receptions for 473 yards and 4 TDs in 2021. The 37 receptions were the fewest he’s had in a season since his second year in the NFL back in 2016 when he had 36 for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Agholor averaged 12.8 yards per completion which was a far cry from the 18.7 he tallied as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020. The 28-year-old Agholor signed a 2-year, $22 million deal in the offseason.

The deal calls for $16 million guaranteed and that’s with a base salary of $9 million in 2022 and a cap hit of $14.8 million. While Thompson and perhaps others might want to see Agholor take a pay cut, the chances of that happen are slim.

The more practical and hopeful course of action is for the Patriots to find more ways to get the ball to Agholor. While Agholor may not have had the greatest season, it’s tough to ignore the fact that the Patriots rarely threw the ball deep.

Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones threw just 13 passes that traveled 30 or more yards down the field in the air. That’s generally the area where Agholor had some solid success with the Raiders. The hope is that Jones will receive more freedom to sling the ball in 2022, and that could lead to a better year for Agholor.

Nelson Agholor Isn’t the Only Pass-Catcher Who Needs to Have a Better 2022 Season

Agholor was the target of Thompson’s tweet, but someone should have pointed the finger at Jonnu Smith at the same time.

Smith signed a four-year, $50 million contract in the offseason and produced very little for the Patriots in 2021. He had 28 receptions for 294 yards and a 1 TD. New England had to expect more production from a player who received a contract with an average annual salary of $12.5 million.

Smith didn’t have a single catch against the Bills as the Patriots were routed. Hopefully, Agholor and Smith will have bounce-back seasons that allow them to join Judon, Henry and Bourne as free-agent signings who produced strong years for New England.

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