The Kansas City Chiefs need to replace their No. 1 wide receiver on the depth chart for a second straight offseason, as free agent receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has signed a three-year, $33 million deal with the New England Patriots. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was the first on the news on March 14.
Shortly after the news broke of his departure from Kansas City, JuJu took to Twitter to say goodbye to Chiefs Kingdom.
“Thank you to Kansas City for the giving me the opportunity to come in and contribute to a Super Bowl, the most unforgettable experience of my life,” Smith-Schuster wrote. “I will always love my teammates, the coaching staff, and the fans for being so great to me.”
JuJu also sent a message to Patriots Nation.
“Excited for my next chapter in New England! I will give this organization everything I have, thank you for believing in me!”
Smith-Schuster, 26, registered 78 catches for 933 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in 16 games during the 2022 regular season, per Pro Football Reference. In three playoff games, he caught 10 passes on 12 targets for 89 yards.
After several down years with the Pittsburgh Steelers following his breakout campaign in 2018, Smith-Schuster took to free agency in 2022 and signed a one-year, prove-it deal with the Chiefs. Since then, JuJu has proved that he is still one of the top receiving threats in the NFL. That helped him tie for the second-largest contract among the free agent receivers to land a contract since Day 1 of the legal tampering period on March 13.
Coincidentally, receiver Jakobi Meyers is the player JuJu is tied with due to him leaving the Patriots this offseason after four seasons with the team and signing a three-year, $33 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, per Spotrac.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster officially gone, the Chiefs have three receivers on the roster that played meaningful snaps in 2022 and are signed through at least 2023: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney, and Skyy Moore.
The defending Super Bowl champions also have Justyn Ross, John Ross, Cornell Powell, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Jerrion Ealy, and Ty Fryfogle as players that will work with the team during the offseason and try to remain in town through the summer.
Chiefs Were Outbid by Patriots
According to NFL Media’s Mike Giardi, Kansas City “wasn’t willing to go to the financial lengths the Patriots were on Smith-Schuster,” which is why JuJu joined New England despite their being mutual interest between him and the Chiefs to re-up.
Twitter users reacted to Guard’s report of the Chiefs being outbid by the Patriots.
“What if the chiefs could have matched but said nah we good he’s too much trouble, cuz that is very much a possibility lmao,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Honestly Chiefs are better without him because now that he won Super Bowl he will be more annoying do dances more again on other teams Logos only gonna anger opponents we know what happened last time when he did that so it’s better for Chiefs,” another user wrote.
“Oh well, Mahomes will just have to help some other receiver get rich,” another user wrote.