Meyers: Pats ‘wouldn't budge' over $1M difference from Raiders' offer originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Smith-Schuster took Meyers' spot on the Patriots' wide receiver depth chart after signing a three-year, $25.5 million contract ($16 million guaranteed). Earlier that week, Meyers joined the Las Vegas Raiders on a three-year deal worth $33 million ($21 million guaranteed).
Meyers was well worth the extra cash for Las Vegas. The 27-year-old tallied 71 catches for 807 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games -- the same number of TDs he scored in four seasons with New England.
Meanwhile, Smith-Schuster was virtually a non-factor for the Patriots. He caught 29 passes for 260 yards and just one touchdown in 11 games.
Meyers joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Felger & Mazz on Monday and opened up about leaving the Pats for the Raiders. Host Michael Felger asked Meyers if he feels vindicated after excelling during a season in which New England could've used his services.
"I do," Meyers answered. "As far as those lines, yeah, I do. I feel like now you can see, like, if y'all just freed me a little bit and let me kind of go out there and do other things or make plays and try to really gear towards me, it would have paid off."
The Patriots signed Meyers as an undrafted free agent out of NC State in 2019. He carved out an important role in New England's offense and showed off a strong rapport with quarterback Mac Jones in 2021 and 2022.
After one year in Vegas, though, Meyers feels at home. He told Felger & Mazz that he's enjoying his time with the Raiders more than his Patriots tenure.
"It was different experiences," Meyers said. "Who I was at that point in my career, I probably didn't get as much respect as I would out here. So, I ain't gonna lie, I do (enjoy the Raiders experience more). Honestly, it's different. It's different. I'm a different person here, so I appreciate that different person. ...
"As far as the respect thing: There, I really had to prove who I was every day," Meyers added. "Like, every single day I had to be better. Not just the same, but better. Here, I want to be better every single day. So it's different."
Meyers added that he believes the Raiders utilized him better in their offense than the Patriots did.
"Yeah. I mean, not just to call people out, throw anybody under the bus, but I was more of a focus here than I was there," he said. "Whereas there, I was more so doing what I had to do to survive and feed my family."
Despite that, the Patriots still had a strong chance to re-sign Meyers last spring. But when the two sides sat down at the negotiation table, former Pats head coach/general manager Bill Belichick wouldn't up his offer.
"They just wouldn't budge," Meyers said. "At the end of the day, he (Belichick) didn't want to move. And I respect it. Like, it's his job to do what's best for his team or what he thinks is best for the team. It just didn't align with what I felt like I was worth.
Asked how close the Patriots' offer was, Meyers said they were $1 million off. Would he have stayed if New England upped its offer by $1 million?
"I wouldn't have minded staying. I don't know, honestly. I don't," he answered. "It would have been a different conversation. I probably would have thought about it a little different.
"But I did enjoy Boston. Like, it was great. The guys that was there, those are really like family members to me, man. The receiver room, TB (Troy Brown), I still talk to Troy all the time. Like, that's my guy, man. So it was definitely a sting when I left, but I understand the business side."
The wide receiver position remains a glaring need for the Patriots heading into the 2024 season. Fortunately for them, they'll have a chance to add weapons to the offense via free agency and the NFL Draft, in which they have the No. 3 overall pick.
Watch the full interview with Jakobi Meyers below or on YouTube.