The New England Patriots had strong special teams during the 2020 NFL season, and a key component of that success is returning.
The Patriots and Justin Bethel have agreed to a three-year contract worth $6 million, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Bethel's deal "includes $2.75 million guaranteed and some Pro Bowl incentives."
The 30-year-old veteran would have been an unrestricted free agent when the market opens March 17.
Bethel was acquired by the Patriots during the 2019 season. Him and Matthew Slater have formed the best special teams duo in the league. Bethel's 13 solo tackles on special teams tied for the league lead in 2020. He's also earned three All-Pro selections in his career.
Slater will be 36 years old in September and it's unknown how much longer he'll play. Extending Bethel for three years ensures the Patriots will have at least one of the league's best special teams players over that stretch.