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Kyle Dugger Inks Four-Year Deal to Stay With Patriots



New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger celebrates after scoring on an interception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The New England Patriots designated Kyle Dugger with a transition tag before the start of free agency. However, Dugger did not sign the one-year transition deal and was reportedly unhappy with his contract situation as other players cashed in on the open market. Dugger now joins the well-compensated, reportedly agreeing to a four-year deal to stay in New England. The deal is worth $58 million in base salary.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo first reported the agreement, with his colleague Ian Rapaport reporting the contract details. It includes $32.5 million guaranteed with a max value of $66 million.

The Patriots selected Kyle Dugger in the second round (No. 37 overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. Dugger played college Lenoir-Rhyne. He has spent his four-year NFL career in New England.

In 2023, Dugger led the team in defensive snaps (1,155) and solo tackles. He played in 96% of the defensive plays during the season. He added seven passes defended, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and 1.5 sacks. Dugger rejoins a safety room that includes Jabrill Peppers, Marte Maput, Joshuah Bledsoe, and newcomer Jaylinn Hawkins.

Encouragement From Management

New England Patriots executive Eliot Wolf and head coach Jerod Mayo both expressed a desire to retain Kyle Dugger when asked about it at the NFL Scouting Combine. Wolf did not mince words when asked about New England’s premier UFAs.

“We want to keep Mike (Onwenu) and Kyle (Dugger),” Wolf responded. Mike Onwenu agreed to a three-year deal to stay in New England last month.

Jerod Mayo addressed their pending free agents as well.

“With (Kyle) Dugger, last year going into the season, there were some questions, can he communicate, and he squashed all that this year. He did a fantastic job in his new role without Devin (McCourty) there.”

Mayo was also asked about the possibility of tagging players before the Patriots had designated Dugger.

“That’s always an option,” Mayo acknowledged. “But, at the same time with guys like that, you want those guys to be happy. You want them to be here for the long term, so that’s the plan.”

New England used the transition designation as a means to get Dugger signed to a long-term deal which should leave all parties happy.

Kyle Dugger is the latest free agent, or potential free agent, to be retained by the New England Patriots this offseason. He joins Mike Onwemu, Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, Anfernee Jennings, Josh Uche, and Jalen Reagor. The team retained ERFAs Nathan Rourke, Chritian Elliss, and Tyrone Wheatley Jr. as well.


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