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Patriots Notes: , Cunningham, Offseason



The Patriots have 15 impending unrestricted free agents, a group that’s headlined by safety Kyle Dugger.


The former second-round pick has turned into one of New England’s most dependable defenders,

but there’s a good chance he hits free agency after the season.


According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, “prior extension talks didn’t generate much momentum”

towards a long-term deal, leading to the belief that Dugger wants to test the market.

The Patriots are armed with a bit of leverage, as the team could choose to slap Dugger with the franchise tag.

Doug Kyed previously noted that the franchise tag could be in play if the two sides don’t agree to a long-term deal.

The 2023 franchise tag value for safeties was at $14.46MM.


Dugger previously expressed an interest in sticking around New England,

but there haven’t been many updates this season regarding an extension.

The fourth-year player has started all 14 games for the Patriots in 2023, collecting 88 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two interceptions.


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More notes out of New England…


There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding Bill Belichick‘s future in New England.

Regardless of who’s running the Patriots front office this offseason,

Doug Kyed of the Boston Globe expects the organization to spend big. Thanks to the league’s cash-spending floor,

the Patriots will need to spend at least $98MM to hit the $216MM requirement.

The front office should have far more money to play with;

if the Patriots take a similar approach to their pricey 2021 offseason,

Kyed projects that they could commit upwards of $194MM to free agency (especially via signing bonuses).

Belichick told reporters that the Patriots attempted to

keep quarterback Malik Cunningham before he landed on the Ravens’ active roster.

The undrafted rookie spent the entire season shuffling between New England’s active roster and practice squad,

with the organization experimenting with the player at both quarterback and wide receiver.

As Reiss notes, the Ravens ultimately sold Cunningham on their system and the presence of Lamar Jackson.

Considering the Patriots’ struggles at the quarterback position this season, it was a surprise that Cunningham never got a shot to run the offense.

Offensive tackle Trent Brown told Sophie Weller of that “everybody on the team” thought the rookie should get a look under center.

Brown also admitted that Baltimore was an ideal spot for his former teammate.

“It’s funny because I told him months ago if they ever called, if anybody, that’s the team where he should go,” Brown said of the Ravens.

“It was almost like I saw it coming…And that’s really good for him to actually get a real chance to play his real position.”

Tight end Mike Gesicki inked a one-year deal with the

Patriots this offseason, but things haven’t gone as planned during his first season with the team.

Through 14 games, the veteran has hauled in 22 catches for 189 yards and one touchdown,

and he’s on pace for his lowest offensive output since his rookie campaign.

Despite the struggles, Gesicki is remaining positive about his experience in New England.

“Control what you can control,

coming in here every day and having a good attitude and being positive and enjoying it,” the tight end told Reiss.

“Because at the end of the day, you’re playing in the NFL, meeting new guys, and playing for the greatest coach to ever do it.

So there’s a lot of things you can take away from it.

And we still have another four games.

You never know how we can finish this thing and have some bright spots.”


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