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Patriots sign punter Bailey to 4-year contract

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Among the things Patriots coach Bill Belichick takes probably the most pride in is his teams special teams play.

During the majority of his tenure in New England its been among Belichicks most consistent units, regularly ranking close to the the surface of the league.

That changed last season once the Patriots slipped from getting the leagues best net punt average (45.6 yards per punt) in 2020 to ranking 21st (39.6) by the finish of 2021.

While there were multiple tweaks to improve those issues up to now in training camp, on Monday Belichick managed to get important to secure the services of among the NFLs top punters.

A source with understanding of the terms confirmed to The Associated Press that Jake Bailey decided to a four-year contract which includes $6.5 guaranteed and may be worth just as much as $13.325 million. The foundation spoke on condition of anonymity because terms of the offer arent released publicly.

With the offer Bailey, a 2020 All-Pro selection, remains on the list of highest-paid punters in the league.

It wasnt such as a crazy big moment, Bailey said of inking the brand new pact. But its another huge milestone in my own life.

Bailey was entering the ultimate season of the rookie deal he signed as a fifth-round pick in 2019 out of Stanford. It left at the very least a little bit of doubt about his future in play when he reported to camp the other day.

He said he didnt think an excessive amount of about taking the field with out a new contract set up and was hopeful hed have the ability to remain with the Patriots.

Anytime theres uncertainty, theres always something in the rear of your mind, Bailey said. But at our position you have have the ability to just compartmentalize and venture out on the field and execute. If youre unable to do this with whatever is distracting youre not gonna play lengthy.

After winning the punting job in 2019, Bailey quickly established himself, also dealing with kickoff and holder duties while never averaging significantly less than 45 yards per punt in virtually any of his first three seasons.

His new deal may also supply the Patriots some needed cap relief. Based on the NFLs public salary cap report, the Patriots entered the week with just $1.6 million in cap space.

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