Patriots

Pats release Jake Bailey less than year after extending him

Patriots

You can add punter to the Patriots' list of offseason needs.

New England released Jake Bailey on Friday following a four-year stint with the team.

The move comes less than a year after the Pats signed Bailey to a three-year, $9.1 million extension that made him one of the NFL's highest-paid punters.

It also comes amid an unresolved grievance Bailey filed against the Patriots in January over a late-season suspension. The suspension reportedly was due to Bailey and the team having "differing viewpoints" on whether he was ready to return from injury.

A 2019 fifth-round draft pick of New England, Bailey earned First Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2020. He posted the league's best net yards per punt mark that season and had the second-most punts downed inside the 20.

But Bailey's performance dropped off dramatically this past season. His net yards per punt average of 35.3 was the worst among punters. The 25-year-old landed on injured reserve with a back injury after nine games and never returned to the lineup.