Why the Patriots Must Extend Kyle Dugger ASAP

The New England Patriots shouldn't wait to extend Kyle Dugger: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots shouldn't wait to extend Kyle Dugger: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /

As we’ve said on this site before, this offseason has been a mixed bag for the Patriots. Getting JuJu Smith-Schuster was nice, but losing out on DeAndre Hopkins was a major missed opportunity.

On the bright side, New England can still use the money it was planning to spend on Hopkins. Perhaps the Pats will end up using it on Dalvin Cook, but if they don’t spend it on a free agent they could also use it on one of their own guys.

And if anybody deserves a contract extension, it’s Kyle Dugger. Even Bill Belichick seemed to imply that his star safety has a big payday ahead of him.

Kyle Dugger Contract

Dugger, 27, is set to be a free agent after this season. Players typically don’t like to deal with contract negotiations during the season, so New England’s best chance to extend him is right now. Otherwise, the team runs the risk of losing him in free agency next year.

Meanwhile, Dugger’s price tag only seems to be rising by the day thanks to his standout performance at training camp.

Of course, interceptions are nothing new for Dugger. He notched three of them last year (returning two for touchdowns) and four the year before that. His ability to read opposing quarterbacks and anticipate where they’re going to throw the ball is exceptional.

Beyond that, Dugger is also great at making tackles in open space. He’s racked up 234 tackles over his first three seasons, 163 of which have been solo. He’s also tallied 11 tackles for a loss and 4 QB hits, so he’s not afraid to be aggressive and go straight at the quarterback.

With three more years until his 30th birthday, Dugger still has several prime seasons in front of him. He’s helped anchor New England’s elite defense since arriving as a second-round pick in 2020 and has quickly evolved into one of the better safeties in the NFL. That’s the type of lynchpin you want to keep around for a while as part of your core.

The Patriots still have a lot of work to do and things to figure out before their season opener against the Eagles on Sept. 10, but one of their top priorities between now and then should be locking up Dugger for the foreseeable future.

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