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Patriots' Mayo: WR playing time is 'wide-open competition'

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New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo said playing time at the wide receiver position is for the taking this offseason.

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

New England drafted Ja'Lynn Polk in the second round and Javon Baker in the fourth round of last month's NFL draft. The club also signed former Minnesota Vikings wideout K.J. Osborn to a one-year deal in free agency.

They'll join a wide receiver room that includes DeMario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jalen Reagor, Kayshon Boutte, and Bourne, who signed a three-year, $33-million extension with the Patriots in March. Bourne won't participate in spring activities as he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered last season.

Smith-Schuster, who inked a three-year, $33-million deal with New England in free agency last year, struggled in his first campaign with the Patriots. In 11 contests, he totaled 29 catches, 260 yards, and only one touchdown. However, the 27-year-old was battling a knee ailment all campaign, forcing him to miss offseason programs in 2023.

"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 said Monday, according to Conor Ryan of

New England hasn't had a 1,000-plus-yard wide receiver since Julian Edelman in 2019.

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