Patriots wide receiver Marqise Lee will opt out of the 2020 season, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). Lee is now the seventh Pats player to make this decision, leaving lots of holes to fill in New England.
“We just feel like it wasn’t smart for us to go out and play this year,” said Lee, who became a first-time father earlier this year.
Lee joined the Patriots in April on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum. The 28-year-old (29 in November) was expected to support a wide receiver group led by Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, and N’Keal Harry. It was a low-risk and potentially high-reward pickup for the Patriots. Lee totaled 1,551 receiving yards between 2016-17 as the Jaguars’ top receiver. He parlayed that performance into a four-year, $38MM deal, but he was derailed by a knee injury in 2018, plus ankle and shoulder trouble last year.
The April signing of Lee allowed the Patriots to focus on other positions in the draft. They went defense with their first three picks before snagging two tight ends (Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene) in the third round. They didn’t use any of their choices on wide receiver, and that’s good news for their incumbents. Damiere Byrd, special teams ace Matthew Slater, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, and Quincy Adeboyejo are among those jostling for roster spots and WR snaps.
Here’s the full rundown of the Patriots’ opt out list, via PFR’s tracker: