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Fox News
Fox News
3 Jun 2023

The New England Patriots missed the playoffs this past season for just the second time since 2008, so they had no choice but to improve.

With Mac Jones going into his third season after a bit of a sophomore slump, the front office gave him a trusty veteran out wide, signing JuJu Smith-Schuster to a three-year deal worth up to $33 million.

The offensive weapons have lacked for New England have lacked in recent years, but it seems like the Pats made the right move with Smith-Schuster on and off the field.

JuJu Smith-Schuster plays against the Raiders

JuJu Smith-Schuster, #9 of the Kansas City Chiefs, reacts after a play against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of the game at Allegiant Stadium on January 7, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)

Jones said Smith-Schuster, who is entering his seventh season in the NFL, has become a team leader, despite not even being in New England for three months.

"I think JuJu’s done a great job, also from a leadership standpoint," Jones told reporters Wednesday, via NESN. "Coming in, that’s someone who adds veteran leadership from different places. He just came off of a Super Bowl team, so what a great value to our offense. Obviously, when he gets on the field, that’s going to be great because he has the experience and he loves talking about football."

But arguably more important, the QB-WR duo have been building a relationship.

"He’s just a football nerd, I guess, kind of like me. We kind of hit it off in that regard," Jones added. "He’s an awesome guy, and I’m looking forward to working with all those guys in that room. I think there’s a lot of potential there."

Juju and Bradberry

JuJu Smith-Schuster, #9 of the Kansas City Chiefs, reacts after a play against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


Smith-Schuster hit the open market after a solid season that ended in a Super Bowl title with the Kansas City Chiefs

After five seasons in Pittsburgh with the Steelers, where Smith-Schuster made a Pro Bowl in 2018, he signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs to further his rapport in the league, and it paid off with Patrick Mahomes throwing to him.

Smith-Schuster benefited from playing in the league’s top offense, totaling 933 yards on 78 receptions (101 targets) with three touchdowns on a team that many believed would regress after their top option, Tyreek Hill, was traded to the Miami Dolphins.

They would instead go on to win the Super Bowl over the Philadelphia Eagles, where Smith-Schuster had seven catches for 53 yards. Eagles cornerback James Bradberry also pulled on his jersey as he ran for the end zone on a route, which led to a holding call that sealed the Chiefs’ victory.

JuJu Smith-Schuster before a game against the Jaguars

JuJu Smith-Schuster, #9 of the Kansas City Chiefs, runs onto the field during introductions against the Jacksonville Jaguars at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 21, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Smith-Schuster finished tied 18th in the league with 16 first-down receptions in 2022, which will certainly benefit the Pats, who are coming off just their second sub-.500 season since 2000.

Fox News' Scott Thompson contributed to this report.

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