@Patriots Release Punter Jake Bailey Seven Months After Extending His Deal

@Patriots Release Punter Jake Bailey Seven Months After Extending His Deal


Patriots release punter Jake Bailey seven months after extension

Seven months after signing a four-year, $13 million extension with the Patriots, punter Jake Bailey has been released by the team.

This season, the 25-year-old punter is averaging 35.3 net yards per punt - ranking 31st among all qualified punters. Additionally, his $3.415 million cap hit for 2023 could make it difficult to replace him.

1. The Patriots need a new punter

After signing Bailey to a four-year, $13.5 million extension in August, the Patriots weren't able to maximize his potential in his first season at Foxboro. His average and net average among punters with 10 or more punts were both among the lowest in their league.

Suddenly, the Patriots suspended him for the final two games of the season to free up cap space for free agency.

Seven months after signing Jake Bailey to a four-year, $13.5 million contract, the Patriots chose not to keep him. Nine-year pro Michael Palardy took over punting duties for New England instead.

On Thursday night, the Patriots will take on Buffalo at home and need their punter to see the field. That can only happen if they do a few things.

First and foremost, the Patriots need to stop allowing the Bills to kneel down before every drive. Even if they do that, however, New England still needs to maintain control of their defense. Since their last punt against New England, Buffalo has had 20 offensive possessions with three ending in kneel downs before either halftime or the end of the game.

On the other hand, the Patriots have been thoroughly outplayed by Buffalo's offense and allowed them to score touchdowns on nine of their drives - an astounding amount of touchdowns against their defense.

With all this in mind, it's clear why the Patriots need a new punter. Without his return or finding someone else to fill his role, they could face an uphill battle in winning this year's Super Bowl.

Therefore, the Patriots could have to decide between finding another punter through the draft or free agency. If they opt for free agency, one name they might want to consider is Rutgers' Adam Korsak.

The Patriots desperately need a punter who can handle kickoff returns. After allowing two returns for touchdowns in their loss to the Bills, they must find someone capable of handling these responsibilities well. Unfortunately, New England ranks 30th in NFL return coverage and boasts an abysmal punt return unit overall.

2. Bailey’s contract is voided

After seven months of negotiations, the Patriots have released punter Jake Bailey. In the offseason, he signed a four-year extension worth $13.5 million as he entered his final year of rookie contract.

After posting impressive numbers his first two years, Bailey experienced a dip in 2020. This season he only converted 15-of-22 field goal attempts - an unsustainable rate in today's football landscape.

ESPN reports that the Patriots have waived Bailey's remaining 2023 salary of $2.85 million, though that doesn't guarantee his re-signing. According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, their cap charge for 2022 will be reduced around $1.85 million, giving them between $4.75-$5 million in cap space this season.

Re-signing Bailey would likely result in him earning at least $7 million more than any other kicker has ever earned, thanks to a performance incentive built into his contract that means each year of his new deal will be more lucrative based on how well he performs this season.

There are a few questions that need answering about this deal. The first is whether Bailey deserves such an amount of money in the first place.

Though he boasts a huge leg and plenty of experience, it's difficult to imagine him becoming the kind of elite punter Nick Folk was in Dallas if he can't regain his form, which seems unlikely at this point.

No doubt, Brady will be an impressive punter for the Patriots in 2023; however, to justify this contract extension he must surpass even the average kicker's performance.

Furthermore, he must improve his accuracy. Without accurate kicks, the Patriots offense will be significantly diminished in effectiveness.

It's essential to note that the Patriots do not have a punter under contract for 2023, meaning they don't need to sign another one this offseason. Instead, the team could utilize the draft to fill this position.

3. Bailey’s grievance is still ongoing

Within seven months, the Patriots went from signing punter Jake Bailey to a four-year, $13.5 million extension, to suspending and ultimately releasing him. Ultimately though, Bailey's grievance remains outstanding and must be resolved before he can rejoin their squad next season.

Last week, Doug Hendrickson had indicated the veteran would file a grievance regarding his suspension; however, this matter has yet to be settled. It remains unclear why the Patriots have suspended him for this season over something so insignificant, but it should come as no shock that his grievance is still active today.

Hendrickson reported Saturday that Bailey is dissatisfied with the way his case has been handled thus far. He's still waiting for the team to resolve things and hopes they do so quickly.

Hendrickson expressed that it remains unclear why the team is still suspending Bailey. He believes it may be due to a misperception about the punter's rehabilitation process.

But he's uncertain whether this issue will ever be resolved. Ultimately, his hope is that the team is able to settle their grievance and he can return to his previous role as a punter with the Patriots.

Hendrickson believes the team is doing this to help him get back on track as a punter, though it remains uncertain how this will impact his future with the Patriots.

The team's decision comes after Bailey has had an arduous year, failing to force touchbacks this year. He has missed eight of his 10 punts thus far and hasn't recorded any touchbacks.

4. The Patriots have no punters under contract for 2023

On Friday, the Patriots announced that they have released punter Jake Bailey seven months after signing him to a four-year, $13.5 million contract extension. Drafted in the fifth round of 2019 NFL Draft, Bailey was expected to become one of their top punters; he earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2020 but failed to live up to expectations this season.

Therefore, the Patriots decided to release him this offseason and begin fresh with a new punter. They have several options to choose from when making their decision.

Brad Pinion, who has become one of the premier punters in recent seasons, remains available and could be an ideal option for the Patriots. Additionally, his ability to handle kickoffs well makes him a perfect fit for their special teams unit.

Another possible punter who might fit is Bradley Morstead, who has been an effective punter for the Miami Dolphins over recent seasons. Although his performance in his second NFL season hasn't been quite as strong, Morstead is a veteran and would provide sufficient competition for Bailey.

However, he is a restricted free agent and would cost the Patriots more than they'd want to spend. Furthermore, they would need to give up one of their draft picks in order to sign him, which could prove costly in the long run.

In the long run, signing an unknown punter for the Patriots could prove costly in the long run. A more likely option is to target a punter during the 2023 NFL Draft instead.

Adam Korsak, who played for a program that the Patriots have an affinity for, could be an ideal candidate. This year he earned the Ray Guy Award as college football's top punter and put up impressive video-game numbers at his position.

He may not be able to match up against the top punters in the NFL, but he would make an excellent pick for the Patriots. His special teams skillset would allow the team some much-needed depth at punter position.

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