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ESPN NFL Insider: Patriots Jakobi Meyers On Cusp of Huge Payday

Jakobi Meyers' free agency will test the New England Patriots' philosophy of keeping their best players.

Jakobi Meyers is the best player from the New England Patriots' 2019 rookie class, despite not being drafted.

Meyers arrived at training camp as an undrafted free agent and has ultimately crafted a career better than drafted players receiver N'Keal Harry, cornerback Joejuan Williams, linebacker Chase Winovich, running back Damien Harris, offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste, offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt, quarterback Jarrett Stidham, defensive lineman Byron Cowart, punter Jake Bailey and safety Ken Webster.

Meyers was also the team's best receiver in 2022, more productive than free-agent signee Nelson Agholor and DeVante Parker, acquired in a high-profile trade. In a disastrous season that finished 8-9 mainly because of an abysmal offense. Meyers was quarterback Mac Jones' most trusted wide receiver with a team-leading 804 yards and six touchdowns on 67 catches.

Add to his value, the Patriots love to develop young players and then re-sign them to second contracts in their prime years.

Despite all that, Meyers staying in Foxboro this offseason isn't a slam dunk. The 26-year-old will be one of the most coveted receivers on the free-agent market next month. Pro Football Focus, in fact, ranks him No. 8.

How far will the Pats go to keep him?

They let the likes of Joe Thuney and Ted Karras walk in free agency, only to watch the offensive lineman start for other teams in the last two Super Bowls. ESPN front-office insider Mike Tannenbaum says the Pats better be prepared to pay if they intend to re-sign Meyers.

“The wide receiver market has absolutely exploded," Tannenbaum says. "I think he’s going to do well. There’s a greater emphasis on passing, and receivers’ value has never been higher.”

Meyers’ initial contract with the Patriots was three years, $1.76 million with a $10,000 signing bonus. He earned $3.98 million last season.

His deal this offseason will be considerably more lucrative.

A player with production comparable to Meyers - the Raiders' Hunter Renfrow - last Spring signed a deal worth $32 million over two years. Jaguars receiver Christian Kirk earned a four-year, $72 million contract.

If the market offers Meyers in the neighborhood of $15-20 million per season, the Patriots will have a key decision to make. And will likely be one of the biggest choices they'll make in 2023.

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