New England Patriots

Report details Patriots' contract offer to Dugger as deadline looms

The Patriots apparently are serious about keeping the veteran safety.

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We've heard reports that the New England Patriots have a contract offer on the table for pending free agent safety Kyle Dugger. We now have a better idea of what that offer looks like.

The "belief" is that the Patriots have offered Dugger a multi-year contract worth $13 million annually, which is "approximately $500,000 more" per year than the deal they presented to him in November 2023, Sportskeeda's Tony Pauline reported Monday.

Pro Football Focus projects Dugger's next contract at four years, $53 million ($13.25 million per year) with $29 million guaranteed, so this would be a competitive offer from New England. Giving Dugger this deal also would help the Patriots save in the short term: They'd have to pay the 27-year-old safety $17.1 million in 2024 if they give him the franchise tag.

The deadline for teams to use franchise tags on players is 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, so time is of the essence for both sides.

Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo and head of personnel Eliot Wolf both have expressed a desire to keep Dugger in New England, with Mayo praising Dugger's ability to step up as a defensive leader following Devin McCourty's retirement.

Dugger is a talented player who ranked third on the Patriots in tackles last season (109) while adding six tackles for loss, two interceptions, seven pass breakups, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. New England would benefit from his steady presence in the defensive backfield, especially after releasing Adrian Phillips.

The Patriots have more pressing needs on offense, however -- essentially at every offensive position -- and committing north of $50 million to Dugger would cut into the resources they could devote to upgrading at quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, tight end and/or running back. Offensive tackle Mike Onwenu, for example, is also eligible for the franchise tag and arguably is more important to retain given New England's lack of depth up front.

The Patriots wouldn't make Dugger an offer if they didn't value him, however, and we should find out soon if he accepts New England's offer or pursues other options.

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