Nelson Agholor Working Towards Next Leap With New England Patriots After 2020 Resurgence

One March removed from signing a one-year, $1 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, Nelson Agholor found himself signing a two-year, $22 million contract with the New England Patriots.

But the veteran wide receiver is taking a similar approach to different territory.

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“I believe that your mindset has to be you want to grow as a player,” Agholor told reporters following New England’s Friday session of voluntary organized team activities. “You want to challenge yourself. You want to become better than you were the year before, and that’s why you’re in this business. I don’t put pressure on myself. I just approach it as that’s what’s in front of me — an opportunity to grow as a player. I just try to answer that challenge.”

The 28-year-old Agholor projects atop a Patriots depth chart that stands with fellow spring free-agent signing Kendrick Bourne, 2020 receiving leader Jakobi Meyers as well as N’Keal Harry, Gunner Olszewski, Isaiah Zuber, Kristian Wilkerson, Devin Smith, Tre Nixon and Marvin Hall. He does so with a vertical dimension to separate.

It brought career highs with 896 receiving yards and 18.7 yards per reception during his lone season with Las Vegas. It also brought eight touchdowns to tie another best.

Agholor’s average depth of target came north of 15 yards downfield, according to Pro Football Focus. There were 15 gains of at least 20 yards, five gains of at least 40 yards and a long of 85 versus the Miami Dolphins in December.

And along the way came a top speed of 21.72 mph that checked in seventh-fastest among NFL ball-carriers tracked by Next Gen Stats.

But the routes, the timing and the playbook are ongoing checkpoints during OTAs, where Agholor is getting up to speed in an offense he described as “versatile.”

“This is where you grow as a player,” Agholor said. “I definitely want to take another leap this year. So, you kind of have to be here, you have to learn, you have to be coached up about how you do things, learn the schemes, work on your fundamentals and just grow as a player. I think you can do things individually, but as a wide receiver, you need to be next to the OC, next to the quarterbacks and I think you grow well that way.”

Agholor originally entered the league in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft at No. 20 overall. The USC product with a 4.42-second 40-time spent five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles from there, catching 224 passes for 2,515 yards and 18 touchdowns across 71 games and 62 starts. He earned a Super Bowl LII ring over New England with a nine-catch, 84-yard performance, as well.

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That February marked one of four encounters the Patriots would have with Agholor. His resurgence as a deep threat with the Raiders featured another.

“We’ve known Nelson for a while, but having him here, yeah, you certainly have a little different perspective,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said during his Friday video conference. “But he’s a smart kid. He’s got a lot of position flexibility and good skill and talent. He’s like everybody else, learning from scratch, learning a little bit of a new offense and some things — the way we call things and do things and all that. But nothing that he or any other new players can’t handle. It’s just part of the process. But he’s doing well. Good to work with him.”

Agholor’s deal with the Patriots includes $16 million in total guarantees and up to an additional $4 million in incentives. According to OverTheCap.com, the total value of his agreement ranks 28th around the league at the position while his current cap number ranks seventh on New England’s books.

“My job is to learn to play multiple positions, run multiple routes, so that I can be placed in position to attack the defense in different ways,” added Agholor. “That’s what I want to do.”

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