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Patriots Analysis

Patriots Roster Breakdown: Jabrill Peppers, Team Captain?



New England Patriots safety Jabrill Peppers (5) reacts after recovering a fumble by the New York Giants during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

There are expected to be a lot of changes in the New England Patriots locker room before the 2024 season gets underway. The coaching staff has already seen significant turnover, most notably with Jerod Mayo replacing Bill Belichick as head coach. But what will the New England roster look like in the fall? Some of that will be determined by players not currently on the team. The NFL Draft and free agency will both bring new faces to Foxboro. But what about the players from 2023? Patriots Football Now will break down all potential 2024 roster players in “Patriots Roster Breakdown” before Week 1 arrives in September.

Today’s Patriots Roster Breakdown featured player is Jabrill Peppers.

Jabrill Peppers

The Cleveland Browns selected Jabrill Peppers in the first round (No. 25 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. Peppers had a solid start to this NFL career in Cleveland. After two seasons with the Browns, he was dealt as part of a package to the New York Giants for Odell Beckham Jr. Peppers played three seasons in New York. He set personal bests in 2020 with 91 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Unfortunately, his 2021 season was cut short. Peppers was placed on IR after six games. He ruptured his right ACL.

New England signed Peppers to a one-year deal in 2022. He played in all 17 games for New England, proving he was fully healthy once again. He opted to remain in New England after the season, signing a two-year contract with the team.

Last season Jabrill Peppers was one of the best players on an excellent defensive unit in New England. He also became a fan favorite, winning the 2023 Vince Wilfork Award. Not only did Peppers excel on the field, he became a leader in the locker room. He also provided some high-impact, including one that led to a Jahlani Tavi interception against the Raiders.

Jabrill Peppers finished fourth on the Patriots in tackles. He tied for the team lead in interceptions.

Pro Football Focus viewed Pepper’s performance extremely well in 2023. His final grade for the year was 87.3, the best of his career. He earned the fifth-highest grade of any NFL safety.

Contract Status

Jabrill Peppers is signed for the 2024 season. He carries a $6.47 million cap hit. Given his production, Peppers was a bargain last season. New England might be wise to try and extend their 28-year-old safety.

Safety Group

Jabrill Peppers and Kyle Dugger rarely left the field for New England last season. Peppers played in 96% of the defensive snaps during the 15 games he played last season. However, Dugger is now an unrestricted free agent. Adrian Phillips was recently released by the Patriots in a move to create cap space. Defensive back Myles Bryant is a cornerback that also saw some time at safety. Bryant is a free agent now as well. That leaves Peppers and Marte Mapu as the lone returnees from last year who are locks for the 2024 roster. Joshuah Bledsoe was elevated to the active roster at season’s end and could return as well.

Eliot Wolf stated the Patriots would like to bring back Dugger. If they fail to do so, they will certainly try to replace him. Dugger led the team in snaps last season, so there would be a lot to replace. Certainly, Mapu will look to have an expanded role in his sophomore season. But whoever is back there will be lined up next to Jabrill Peppers.

Outlook for Jabrill Peppers

Despite playing for two different franchises before arriving in New England, Peppers seems right at home as a Patriot. He is the first player in the “Patriots Roster Breakdown” series thus far that will unquestionably be on the New England Patriots opening day roster. His leadership has made him a potential candidate to be a team captain in 2024 and beyond. New England did not have a defensive back among their captains last season, and both Jonathan Jones and Peppers are strong candidates to do so this year.