The New England Patriots have given yet another player a contract extension as the 2022 regular season inches closer.
ALL the latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!
With the deal, Bailey now becomes one of the three highest-paid punters in the entire league. The Patriots punter was entering the final year of his rookie contract.
“It wasn’t a crazy big moment but it’s a milestone in my life.” Bailey said when speaking to the media after Monday’s session. “You wanna stay with what you know and what’s comfortable to you.”
Bailey is coming off another quality season for New England. He averaged 47.3 yards per punt in 2021 (eight in the NFL) and 39.6 net yards (21st in the league). In 2020 Bailey was named first-team All-Pro with a 48.7 average and a 45.6 net with only five touchbacks.
How Does This Affect New England’s Cap Space?
In his previous deal, Bailey took up over $4 million of the Patriots salary cap which was the second highest among punters. Now with his new deal, that salary-cap charge drops down to $1.85 million and now gives New England nearly $5 million in cap space.
Monday’s Training Camp Observations
While the selection of Cole Strange in the first round was surprising to Patriots fans, the offensive lineman seems to be doing all the right things leading up to the regular season.
Isaiah Wynn is confident that Strange will be a good player in the NFL.
“He’s a hard worker,” Wynn said. “He’s a very hard worker. He’s always trying to get better. Very knowledgeable. He’s going to be a good player.”
On the other side of the ball, Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick was loving what he saw from his linebackers in the first padded practice.
“I like all six of those guys,” Belichick said. “… Whoever’s out there, it’s all good groups out there. But those two guys are really smart and they can get everybody lined up. They’re good generals, and if they need to be soldiers, they can be soldiers.”
Mayo specifically talked about the duo of Ja’Whaun Bentley and Raekwon McMillan.
“It’s like the hammer — we got one guy that’s really a hammer, one guy who’s very versatile than can do a bunch of different things,” Mayo said of Bentley and McMillan, respectively. “Raekwon’s done an excellent job for us, and you all know what Bentley is capable of doing. So, it’s always good to have a combination of skills, complementary players on the field.”
The linebackers will need to step up heading into the 2022 season. New England’s secondary took a major hit with the loss of J.C. Jackson, putting a lot of pressure on the front seven.
But with Belichick’s reliable punter and the defense earning high praise, there’s still some reason for Patriots fans to be excited.