When the Patriots benched their $25 million wide receiver in the last minutes of Game 1, controversy erupted.
Instead of paying wide receiver Jakobi Meyers in the NFL offseason, the Patriots let him sign a three-year, $33 million contract with the Raiders.
New England traded for JuJu Smith-Schuster, who received a three-year, $25 million contract, to replace him.
While Meyers had nine catches for 81 yards, two touchdowns, and a crucial first down in a Las Vegas triumph
Smith-Schuster was barely seen in his New England debut, especially when it mattered most.
Smith-Schuster had four catches for 33 yards, but his most notable moment was a dropped throw just past
midfield on a third-down play that would have given the Patriots a first down as they tried to gain momentum.
Smith-Schuster's other notable moment came late in the game as the Patriots tried to finish a fierce comeback.
No Smith-Schuster on the field. Instead, rookies Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas.
Bill Belichick tried to quell the move's uproar fast. “We had different groups, different rotations, so we’re good with whoever is in there,” Belichick said.
The Patriots may have rotated receivers and planned the two rookies for the final possessions due to timing.
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