JuJu Smith-Schuster Says He’s Fully Healthy

Following a disastrous first season in New England, JuJu Smith-Schuster is confident he’ll rebound in 2024. The veteran told reporters (including Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald) that he’s 100-percent healthy heading into Patriots OTAs.

Smith-Schuster estimated that he was around 60-percent at this time last year. The veteran wide receiver underwent knee surgery shortly after winning Super Bowl LVII with the Chiefs and before signing with the Patriots.

“It’s a big difference,” Smith Schuster said of his current health. “It’s not easy coming off a knee injury and having a long season and coming back really short… I feel great, honestly. I feel great. I’ve never felt better. I’m just excited to finally be out here around this time and participating.”

The Patriots signed Smith-Schuster to a three-year, $33MM contract last offseason, but the receiver proceeded to put up career-lows across the board. The 27-year-old ultimately finished the campaign with 29 catches for 260 yards and one touchdown. While the disappointing results could partly be attributed to inconsistent QB play, Smith-Schuster also admitted that he was never able to get to 100 percent health.

“I’ve always wanted to just push through and play,” Smith-Schuster said. “I had some injuries that I was dealing with and I just kept pushing through it and playing. That’s just the competitiveness in me. I don’t mind that. So this year it’s a lot different than how it was.”

Smith-Schuster’s production certainly doesn’t match up with his salary, but since he’s attached to a guaranteed $7MM base salary in 2024, it’d be surprising if he doesn’t end up making the team. The Patriots lost out in the Calvin Ridley sweepstakes, meaning their only notable additions at the position have been free agent K.J. Osborn and second-round rookie Ja’lynn Polk. That duo joins Kendrick Bourne and Demario Douglas atop the depth chart, meaning Smith-Schuster will be competing with the likes of Kayshon Boutte, Tyquan Thornton, and rookie fourth-round pick Javon Baker for a roster spot.

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