New England Patriots

Josh Uche explains why he took apparent pay cut to stay with Patriots

The 25-year-old left millions on the table with his new deal, per a report.

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Josh Uche reportedly turned down a serious raise to stay in New England.

The Patriots edge rusher agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots earlier this week worth $3 million with incentives that max out at $8 million, per Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. According to The Athletic's Jeff Howe, Uche had a two-year, $15 million offer with $11 million guaranteed on the table from another team, but turned it down to accept New England's much smaller deal.

That means Uche must really like playing in Foxboro, which he confirmed in an interview published Thursday on

"The Patriots were the organization that gave me a chance in the NFL," Uche said when asked about his decision to re-sign with the team. "It's like family. It feels like home, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be than home, so I think that was my main reason: loyalty, family and love."

Uche has spent his entire four-year career to date in New England after the Patriots took him 60th overall (second round) in the 2020 NFL Draft. His production varied widely under head coach Bill Belichick -- he had a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2022 but just three in 2023 -- but it sounds like the 25-year-old is very excited to play for new head coach Jerod Mayo.

"Coach Mayo is developing a lot of tough young men, and I feel like it's something I just want to continue to be a part of," Uche added. "I think it's just going to be great. I think the future is bright."

Uche's comments are welcome amid a slow start to NFL free agency under de facto general manager Eliot Wolf. While the Patriots have locked up several pending free agents so far -- notably Uche, Anfernee Jennings, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry and Mike Onwenu -- they've missed out on big-ticket free agents like wide receiver Calvin Ridley and offensive tackle Jonah Williams.

It's worth wondering whether some free agents are wary of joining a Patriots team with a completely overhauled coaching staff that just went 4-13. But at the very least, Mayo and Co. appear to have support from their own core players, many of whom could have sought greener pastures in free agency.

Will Uche's vote of confidence convince any outside free agents that the "future is bright" in New England? That remains to be seen.

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