Monday, August 15, 2022

Patriots rip up star punter’s old contract and replace it with new deal that frees up millions in cap space

Jake Bailey has been one of the best punters in the NFL over the past three seasons, and now, he’s going to be paid like one. 

According to ESPN.com, Bailey and the Patriots have agreed to terms on a new four-year contract. The two sides agreed to rip up his old rookie deal, which was set to expire following the 2022 season. 

“Anytime there is uncertainty, you know, it’s something in the back of your head, but at our position, you just have to be able to compartmentalize and go out on the field and execute,” Bailey told the media Monday. “If you’re not able to do that with whatever is distracting you, you’re not going to play for very long.” 

The new contract, which runs through 2025, is worth up to $13.5 million and includes $6.5 million in guarantees. Although that amount of money doesn’t sound huge, it’s an incredibly high sum for a punter. The total amount of the deal makes him the second-highest paid punter in the NFL, behind only Seattle’s Michael Dickson, who signed a four-year, $14.7 million deal with the Seahawks in June 2021. Bailey’s average annual salary of $3.375 million per year and his total guaranteed money of $6.5 million also rank second in the NFL behind Dickson. 

The Patriots raised some eyebrows in 2019 when they decided to use the 163rd overall pick on Bailey, but after three years, he’s now making them look like geniuses. After a solid rookie year in 2019, Bailey followed that up in 2020 with an All-Pro season. 

One reason Bailey is getting such a huge raise is because he was able to take advantage of the NFL’s proven performance incentives. These contract escalators are designed to help non-first round picks earn more money during the final year of their rookie contract. 

Under the original terms of his rookie deal, Bailey was only scheduled to make $965,000 in 2022, but after making the Pro Bowl in 2020, he triggered the proven performance escalator, which was enough to boost his salary up to $3.986 million for the final year of his rookie deal. 

If the Patriots hadn’t given him a new contract this week, then he would have counted $4.05 million against the salary cap in 2022. Thanks to the new deal though, Bailey will only count $1.85 million against the cap, according to ESPN.com, which means the team will pick up roughly $2.2 million in much-needed cap space. 

Bailey and the Patriots just finished up their first day in full pads at training camp and if you want to know how things went, be sure to click here for to check out our full notebook from Foxborough

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