Legendary Patriots Coach Admits Team Needs WR Like Jets’ Braxton Berrios

Braxton Berrios

Getty New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios on January 2, 2022.

The rivalry between the New York Jets and New England Patriots is one of the most bitter in all of sports.

Each fanbase despises one another and Bill Belichick has never been shy about his hatred for the Green & White after his famously mysterious resignation from the franchise on January 4, 2000.

Let’s just say, it’s not uncommon that Belichick has attempted to “poach” players from the Jets and vice versa. History has generally favored New England in this regard, since Belichick’s arrival in 2000, but it appears Gang Green may have finally stuck one to the future Hall of Famer.

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‘Scar’ Second-Guesses Belichick

Dante Scarnecchia might be the most legendary offensive line coach the game has ever seen, and he was a close confidant on Belichick’s staff up until he retired in 2020 — aside from a brief NFL absence during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He also served as the franchise’s assistant head coach for 14 years from 2000-13.

Now, Scarnecchia is just a spectator and he had some thoughts on why the Patriots struggled offensively in 2021. During an interview with Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, the OL coach criticized the New England receiving core.

“We’ve always had that guy, a guy who moved the chains,” Scarnecchia told Guregian. “Whether it was Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola when all else failed, he was that guy. But they don’t have that guy right now.”

Our very own Heavy on Patriots reporter Brian Mazique described this kind of player as a “dependable slot receiver who is also the gadget guy and chain-mover in tough situations.”

Tom Brady loved guys like this and it only makes sense that they’d also serve as an asset for Mac Jones. “They gotta get a better supporting cast around [Jones],” Scarnecchia reiterated to Guregian. “They don’t want to hear that, but that’s the truth. Other than Jakobi Meyers, who do they got?”

Later in the interview, Jets slot receiver and All-Pro returner Braxton Berrios was brought up as the potential “heir” that got away from Belichick. “He’s just like those guys,” Scarnecchia explained. “He gets open. He can run the reverses. People in New York think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

Remember, New England selected Berrios in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL draft, only to cut him in 2019 after a rookie season on the injured reserve. The theory was that Belichick was hoping to sneak the shifty weapon onto his practice squad, before Jets GM Joe Douglas swooped in and plucked him off waivers — along with Los Angeles Rams cast out John Franklin-Myers.

What a haul!

Now, with Berrios approaching free agency, many believe Belichick might try and correct his 2019 mistake — Mazique included. “It would be an interesting reunion of sorts if Berrios and the Patriots come back together. If he has the chops to become Jones’ binkie, New England should strongly consider making a phone call to his agent,” wrote the Heavy on Patriots reporter.

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Jets Can Prevent This From Happening

On January 3, uSTADIUM leaked news that Douglas and Berrios had started extension talks and the wide receiver has made it clear that the Jets can prevent him from hitting the open market for the right price. He also confirmed that contract talks had begun during a spot with Barstool Sports’ hit-podcast “Pardon My Take.”

When pressed by co-hosts Eric Sollenberger [PFT Commentator] and Dan Katz [Big Cat] on whether he’d take a pay cut to remain in New York, Berrios gave a worrisome response.

“We’ll see what happens,” answered the Jets free agent, shutting down all on-air contract chatter. Earlier in the interview, when asked whether his All-Pro honor would help him profit in 2022, he also agreed that it should.

No one can blame the 5-foot-9 wide receiver for wanting to cash out on an extremely efficient season considering his WR snap count (390) and production on both special teams and offense.

  • 46 receptions for 431 yards, two touchdowns, 21 first downs, 70.8 catch percentage, zero charged drops.
  • Seven rushes for 40 yards, two touchdowns, three first downs.
  • 28 kick returns for 852 yards, one touchdown, 30.4 yards per return.
  • 15 punt returns for 201 yards, 13.4 yards per return.
  • 1,524 all-purpose yards, five touchdowns.

Spotrac projects Berrios to earn $23.69 million over a four-year deal. That’s a little over $5.92 million per season. I personally think it may take between $6-7 million per year to get this done.

Considering the Jets rank fifth in NFL cap space, this seems manageable to me considering his chemistry with Zach Wilson and his understanding of a notably complex playbook — see Denzel Mims.

Keep in mind, no one outside those negotiations truly knows the number that Berrios is looking for and no one knows what Douglas has offered either. Although, the Jets GM does have a reputation for pinching pennies.

For a 26-year old weapon that can be used in four different ways by coordinators Mike LaFleur and Brant Boyer, I’d say Berrios is worth that $6-7 million per year average, but no higher. It’s time to silence any Pats’ reunion talk and get this deal done.

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