After Marqise Lee was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this offseason, the former second-round pick will look to restart his career in the New England Patriots.
Two years after signing a four-year, $38 million contract extension with the Jaguars, Lee finds himself in a much different place as he hopes to revive his career. The 6-foot, 196-pound Lee missed the 2018 season because of a serious knee injury, and he was limited to six games in 2019 because of a shoulder injury.
The former second-rounder signed a one year contract with $300,000 guaranteed to join New England.
It’s been difficult, but it’s been a task in which I’ve quite enjoyed as far as knowing myself,” Lee said to Patriots reporters in an introductory video conference. “After these certain injuries, you’ve got some people who get down on themselves and then want to shut it down. For me, it’s kind of like a motivating factor.”
“I just want to see where I’m at. It will be good to get out there and play football, which I feel like I haven’t played in the last couple of years,” Lee said. “I’m just ready to get at it.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the team from practicing together and attending meetings in the normal fashion. This would usually be a time for the new players to forge bonds with the returning players and get valuable time to create team chemistry.
The Patriots, who are transitioning on offense without quarterback Tom Brady, could benefit from a resurgence from Lee. They have Julian Edelman, 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry, veteran Mohamed Sanu and free-agent signing Damiere Byrd atop the receiver depth chart.
If Lee can regain some of his form that led him to over 100 receptions back in his 2017 campaign, he could definitely earn a spot on this New England roster, especially if he can gain a good trust with Stidham early on.
“I felt like me choosing New England, it’s the perfect place to try to get back to yourself — very strict, basically just all about football and handling your business,” Lee said. “I feel like I was a little bit off on that point with these last two injuries I had.”
Lee is not coming into this situation entirely by himself, as he is close friends with newly-hired assistant coach Jedd Fisch, a former Jacksonville assistant. The two have kept in touch over the years and Lee was relieved to sign with a team where he knew one of the coaches.
Lee will look to capitalize on a relatively thin Patriots receiving corps and aim to rise up the depth chart as the season progresses.