NFL Trade Rumors: New England Patriots Re-Signing Safety Kyle Dugger

The New England Patriots are extending one of their defensive leaders. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Mike Garafolo, and Eric Edholm, the Patriots have agreed to terms with veteran safety Kyle Dugger on a four-year, $58 million deal.
The Patriots took Dugger 37th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, which was a surprise at the time. Dugger was an old prospect at the time (24 years old), and he played his college ball for Lenoir-Rhyne, a South Atlantic Conference team in NCAA Division II. Still, the Patriots saw potential in his powerful frame (6'1", 217 lbs) and his explosive skillset (4.49 40-yard dash, 11'2" broad hump, and 42.0" vertical jump).

Dugger has emerged as a consistent and sometimes effective starter for the Patriots in the years since, appearing in 61 of 67 games. Over his four seasons, he has finished with overall grades between 61.7 and 78.4 from Pro Football Focus, and he played a career-high 1115 defensive snaps last year. That reliability earned him the transition tag earlier this offseason, but it does not appear he received offers from other teams. The $14.5 million annual average of this deal places him as the league's sixth-highest-paid safety. 

Though he arrived shortly after the glory years of the Tom Brady-era, Dugger has been a key part of a consistently effective Patriots defense: They've ranked 15th, 4th, 7th, and 8th in yards allowed since he joined the team. He should provide continuity and leadership for the unit as it transitions from franchise legend Bill Belichick to first-time head coach Jerod Mayo.
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