The New England Patriots are banking on old stone hands to grow some Velcro. The organization handed Nelson Agholor a two-year, $26 million contract, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and is hoping he could upgrade one of the weakest receiving corps in football.
Agholor, who averaged 18.7 yards per catch last year, hit free agency on Monday after one year with the Las Vegas Raiders. He served as Derek Carr’s speed threat and made 49 receptions for 896 receiving yards in 2020 while averaging 18.7 yards-per-catch, second-best in the NFL. According to NBC Sports, Agholor only dropped five passes (less than DK Metcalf) — despite a highlight-reel tweet to the contrary.
His 2019 season will always live in infamy in Philadelphia, especially that potential game-winning catch in Week 2 versus Atlanta. Agholor’s failures turned into one of the funniest memes of the year and made the Eagles’ decision to move on from him after the season a no-brainer.
Truth be told, Agholor was a productive weapon for most of his career in midnight green and a great locker room guy in Philly. The Patriots definitely overpaid for the 27-year-old’s services but he’s far from a bad football player. He’ll stretch the field in New England and surely get some epic practice reps in with Jalen Mills.
— Christopher Harris (@HarrisFootball) March 16, 2021
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Agholor Started Locker Room Drama in Vegas?
There was a report last year accusing Agholor of yelling at teammates for quitting on the season. According to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, the former Eagles receiver stormed into the locker room on Dec. 26 and said there was “no accountability” and called people out for being “selfish.” It should be noted that Agholor went off for 155 yards and a touchdown in that game.
Was it a bad thing? Depends on whom you ask. Agholor won a Super Bowl ring in Philadelphia where — at least at the time — there was a culture of winning. He was probably trying to light a fire under the Raiders, something head coach Jon Gruden seemed OK with when he was asked for a comment: “I love Agholor.”
People really thought Nelson Agholor would be a Raider after this incident? pic.twitter.com/W4uSYOZhH9
— Cucuy (@CucuyOnline) March 16, 2021
Patriots Get Low Grades for Signing
Fans seemed torn on the Agholor move in New England and one local reporter handed out a C+ grade to the Patriots. Meanwhile, Twitter was ripe with mockery aimed at Agholor and the team the Eagles beat in Super Bowl LII.
Here is what ESPN’s Mike Reiss wrote:
What it means: Once the Patriots decided to bring back Newton at quarterback, it was a reflection that they were committed to getting more weapons around him. Enter Agholor, who averaged 18.7 yards per catch last season in a breakout season for the Raiders. He is fast and explosive, and while he has been plagued by drops at times, he immediately becomes a top-3 option in New England.
What’s the risk: This is a lot of money for Agholor, who had 48 receptions for 896 yards and eight touchdowns last season. For a team that usually waits out the market, the Patriots are paying a premium price.
With the Patriots reportedly signing Nelson Agholor, let’s revisit that one time this hero Eagles fan took a break from saving kids in a house fire to roast the Philly wide receiver 😂 pic.twitter.com/rSPvn8Lib5
— Emerson Lotzia, Jr. (@EmersonLotzia) March 15, 2021
The biggest issue has been the $26 million pay-out for Agholor. Spotrac had pegged the former first-round pick to get somewhere around $19.5 million while Pro Football Focus had him at $15 million. Instead, he shattered the projections and heads to New England to join Kendrick Bourne as the two top pass-catching options for Cam Newton in 2021.
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