Pats release Jake Bailey less than year after extending him


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.