Patriots retain key defender Kyle Dugger on long-term deal: Contract details and grade

The New England Patriots once again follow through on their commitment to retain their homegrown talent, securing Kyle Dugger, a young and versatile defensive player, on a long-term deal.
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

When the New England Patriots drafted Kyle Dugger out of Lenoir-Rhyne back in 2020, he was viewed as a swiss-army knife for his versatility. It was a questionable move at the time as his college wasn't exactly one of the hot spots of knowledge compared to several Power Five schools with larger names.

Fast forward to 2024, and Dugger has shown that talent can come from anywhere and if you produce, you will be rewarded. The Patriots have decided to reward Dugger for his services and have re-signed him to a four-year contract extension worth $58M with a max of $66M. Dugger will receive$32.5M in guaranteed money per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Patriots retain their own and secure the back end with Kyle Dugger: Contract details

Though he has yet to make a Pro Bowl, Dugger has been one of the better players for the Patriots, racking up over 300 career tackles and nine interceptions since he arrived in Foxborough. Last season, Dugger started all 17 games and registered 109 tackles. Prior to this deal, New England placed a $13.8 million transition tag on Dugger.

Investing in home-grown talent like Dugger signals a shift in their approach under new leadership. With Jerod Mayo taking the helm as the new head coach, there's a noticeable departure from the past emphasis on veteran acquisitions. Instead, the Patriots are prioritizing the development and retention of young, talented players like Dugger. This shift represents a commitment to building a sustainable and competitive team for the long term.

The Patriots are entering a new era, and with the third overall pick in the upcoming draft, there is a sign of hope that maybe this time, unlike the Mac Jones era, things will be different. Nothing will compare to the Tom Brady era that had the New England era being the capital of the football world, but at this point, considering what the last few years were like, Pats fans will take any sort of victory. By prioritizing home-grown talent over costly external acquisitions, the Patriots are laying the foundation for sustained success, both on and off the field.

Kyle Dugger-Patriots contract grade: A-

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