Patriots avoid disastrous contract scenario after Antoine Winfield Jr. payday

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The Patriots had a long list of players heading to free agency this offseason, many of whom had become integral parts of the team. It was crucial for Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf to re-sign as many of them as possible to maintain consistency with the roster and fortunately, they struck long term deals with nearly all of them.

One of the names leading the list was Kyle Dugger, who has become a rising star in the defense since he was drafted in 2020.

Despite the concerns of his age and limited competitive background having attended a Division II college, the safety has become one of the best at the position in the league, making it even more important he remained in New England.

Even with that in mind, the Patriots decided to place the transition tag on him instead of getting an extension done, which Dugger reportedly didn't like. Thankfully, they eventually reached an agreement on a new contract, striking a deal on a four-year, $58 million contract extension to keep him in Foxboro through 2027.

Because of the sheer number of safeties released in free agency, the Patriots lucked out with his market not skyrocketing in the process. They also were proven to have gotten the deal done at the perfect time after the latest extension for Antoine Winfield Jr. was just announced.

Patriots avoid disastrous contract scenario after Antoine Winfield Jr. payday

Similar to the situation with Christian Barmore, who the Patriots were likely forced to pay more to keep him after several defensive tackles received big paydays, they could've been on the hook in the same way for Dugger had they prolonged the process.

Fortunately, the Bucs' deal to keep Winfield happened several weeks later, so it didn't play a role in the Patriots' contract negotiations. He will now become the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history with a four-year, $84.1 million extension.

Although it was important to keep Dugger long-term, it wouldn't be ideal to feel forced to pay him a hefty contract simply because another player reset the market.

This allows them to spend money elsewhere while also locking down one of their most talented defensive players for four more seasons. Seems like a win/win situation for all.

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