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Patriots 90-Man Roster Spotlight: Ja’Whaun Bentley

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New England Patriots linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley (8) gestures as he runs onto the field before the start of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)

The New England Patriots can have up to 90 players under contract during the offseason. Patriots Football Now will profile all 90 players (though there are currently 91 on the roster) over the upcoming months. Today’s featured player is offensive tackle Ja’Whaun Bentley.

Ja’Whaun Bentley

The New England Patriots selected Ja’Whaun Bentley in the fifth round (No. 143 overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft. Of the nine players drafted by New England that year Bentley is the only player still with the team. Only two others (Isaiah Wynn and Braxton Berrios, both with the Miami Dolphins) played in the NFL last season. Bentley played his college career at Purdue. He was with the Boilermakers for four seasons, amassing 272 tackles, including 29.5 tackles for loss.

Bentley appeared in only three games as a rookie. He was sidelined with a torn biceps. However, he earned a Super Bowl ring in his first NFL season. Since that 2018 season, Bentley has played in 80 of 85 games, including the postseason.

Also Read – Patriots 90-Man Roster Spotlight: Raekwon McMillan

Ja’Whaun Bentley recorded over 100 tackles each of the past three seasons, one of 16 NFL linebackers to do so. He led the Patriots in tackles each of the past three seasons. Bentley has also been named a team captain three times.

Over the past four seasons, Bentley amassed 439 tackles (235 solo) with 10.0 sacks. The only seven NFL players have recorded at least 400 tackles and 10 sacks in the 2020s. Ja’Whaun Bentley is the only one yet to make a Pro Bowl. He also has 28 career QB hits, 21 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions.

Pro Football Focus gave Bentley a 65.8 grade for his 2023 performance. While still respectable, it was a drop off from the 80.4 he earned in 2022. Although his pass-rush grade improved, he regressed in both tackling (17 missed tackles) and coverage.

Contract Status

Ja’Whaun Bentley is under contract with the New England Patriots for two more seasons with an average cap hit of roughly $6.75 million. However, he has no guaranteed money remaining after 2024.

Inside Linebackers Group

The New England Patriots have eight inside linebackers vying for roster positions. Starters Ja’Whaun Bentley and Jahlani Tavai are both locks. Veterans Raekwon McMillan, Sione Takitaki, Christian Elliss, and Joe Giles-Harris are joined by undrafted free agent rookies Jontrey Hunter and Steele Chambers.

Outlook for Ja’Whaun Bentley

The Patriots have featured a long line of inside linebackers who served as team leaders during Robert Kraft’s tenure. Previous examples include Tedy Bruschi, Jerod Mayo, and Dont’a Hightower. All three played their entire NFL careers with the Patriots. Bentley following suit would not be a surprise. With Mayo (head coach) and Hightower (inside linebackers coach) now on New England’s staff, perhaps there is a spot in the coaches’ room for the current Patriots captain when his playing days are done.

Ja’Whaun Bentley has been a consistent player for the New England Patriots in terms of availability, leadership, and production. There is no reason to believe that will change in 2024. Bentley is one of two inside linebackers, along with Jahlani Tavai, securely on the 53-man roster. He is also one of the few remaining Patriots players who won a Super Bowl with New England. Bentley witnessed his only NFL franchise trend in the wrong direction and now can help turn things back around.

Award-winning blogger, Dan's work has also been featured on Fox Sports, Boston Metro, Barstool Sports, MLB.com, and many other outlets.

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