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Jerod Mayo: Patriots' wide receiver room a 'wide-open competition'

The New England Patriots enter Phase Three of the offseason workout program with a log jam in the wide receiver room.

While the corps lacks an obvious alpha at this stage, there will be a heated battle for reps come training camp in July. Currently, the WR room includes second-round pick Ja’Lynn Polk, fourth-rounder Javon Baker, free agent addition K.J. Osborn, Kendrick Bourne, DeMario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kayshon Boutte, Jalen Reagor, Tyquan Thornton, Kawaan Baker and T.J. Luther.

"It's a wide-open competition. We have some young bulls, we have some older players. We have guys who are really unproven," head coach Jerod Mayo told reporters on Monday. "So, this is an opportunity for them to really get a leg up going forward, especially when you don't have a guy like Bourne out here during the spring. Guys will have opportunities."

Bourne suffered a torn ACL in late October while leading the club in receiving. Despite the injury, the Patriots inked the wideout to a three-year contract in March. He's expected to be ready for Week 1, but the Pats won't push it.

"Honestly, it's a week-by-week type of thing. We hope to get him out here, but he won't be out here during the spring, I can tell you that. So, we'll see going forward," Mayo said of Bourne.

The offseason additions put Smith-Schuster's place on the club in peril. Even though he has $7 million guaranteed in 2024, the veteran isn't a shoo-in to make it through final cuts with a job. Smith-Schuster noted that he's finally 100% after playing through injury all last year, but he'll need to show signs of life to keep his gig in New England.

"The room is definitely crowded. He looks good. He's moving around well," Mayo said of Smith-Schuster. "We'll see today when they're actually going against someone else, but he looks good and it is a question for the end of the spring, honestly."

When we hit training camp, the battle for the final few WR spots in New England will be worth tracking. At the NFL Scouting Combine, de facto GM Eliot Wolf said his goal was to get more weapons on offense. The club has tossed bodies at the situation this offseason and will use practices to sift out who stays and who moves on in 2024.

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