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Wednesday Patriots Notebook 3/6: News and Notes

The Patriots kept Dugger in the fold, and may have a built-in option at tackle heading into 2024.

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
March 6, 2024 at 11:27 am ET

Wednesday Patriots Notebook 3/6: News and Notes(PHOTO: Jan 1, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger (23) runs for a touchdown after intercepting the ball during the second half of agame against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 6 minutes

Some news and notes for this morning:

Dugger Tagged

Yesterday was the deadline for teams to make a decision when it came to making certain designations for players, and New England ended up using the transition tag on free agent safety, Kyle Dugger.

According to the NFL, the transition tag is “a one-year tender offer for the average of the top 10 salaries at the position — as opposed to the top five for the franchise tag. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player might receive from another club. The tagging team is awarded no compensation if it chooses not to match a deal.”

Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan points out that the transition tag figure for a safety this year is $13.815 million, which is what Dugger is expected to receive pending another club making an offer, or New England potentially extending him.

The latter scenario doesn’t appear to necessarily be off the table, as a statement by head coach Jerod Mayo revealed that the two sides are continuing to work toward keeping Dugger in the fold for the long-term.

“Kyle is a talented player with a strong work ethic who has improved every year and been extremely productive since joining our team in 2020,” Mayo said in a statement via the team’s website. “We value players with high character and chose to use the transition designation to give both sides more time to try to reach a long-term agreement, which is our goal with Kyle.”

NFL reporter Tony Pauline also reported earlier in the week that the multi-year deal they have on the table for Dugger is worth about $13 million annually, over $500,000 than the previous deal that Dugger was apparently offered back in November.

Dugger was a big part of their defense again in 2023, with the veteran among the top players in the league in terms of the number of times the Patriots blitzed him last season.

Meanwhile what that means for Michael Onwenu is unclear, since using the transition tag on Dugger removes that ability for them to tag Onwenu.  Barring news of an extension between now and free agency, it appears he’ll hit the open market.

Cross Him Off the List

Texans free agent tight end Dalton Schultz was a name that was discussed here yesterday as an intriguing prospect for the Patriots to potentially bolster their tight end group, but it appears fans who were hoping to see him land here can cross him off the list.

Houston GM Nick Caserio made sure that didn’t happen and managed to sign Schultz to an extension, with his player agreeing to a 3-year deal worth a reported $36 million.

The Texans made out on this one because they were able to do something Dallas wasn’t.  The Cowboys had already failed to keep him in the fold after putting the franchise tag on him in 2022, only to see him leave the following offseason.

Instead, Schultz appears happy where he’s at catching passes from C.J. Stroud, and he’ll now remain a key in their offense as the club quietly heads into 2024 as a potential contender in the AFC.

Calvin Anderson

(PHOTO: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

Anderson Focused on Being a Solution at Tackle

While the New England Patriots are obviously trying to figure things out at the tackle position heading into free agency and the draft, it’s entirely possible they may actually already have at least one potential solution in-house.

Calvin Anderson was actually New England’s first non-team signing last offseason, with the Patriots reaching an agreement on a 2-year deal with the Broncos free agent tackle back on March 14, 2023.

The former undrafted free agent for New England in 2019 didn’t make it with the Patriots initially, spending the first part of that year with the Jets on their practice squad before getting scooped up by the Broncos and signed to their active roster.

He had since carved out a role for himself, which led to the opportunity he received with the Patriots last offseason.

However, a tough turn of events derailed things before he really got started.  Anderson was placed on the non-football list ahead of camp and ended up on PUP.  He appeared on the practice report in Weeks 8 and 9, with Anderson being limited on that first Wednesday while not participating in the final five sessions through the remainder of that week and week 9 before he ultimately ended up on injured reserve.

While there had been rumors that his situation was serious, the veteran recently revealed that it was apparently bad enough that it nearly cost him his life.

Anderson finally posted about his ordeal on social media yesterday, while letting everyone know that he’s now on a mission to “return to the game I love.”

“I almost lost everything,” wrote Anderson.  “In 2023 I nearly lost my life and my career. I had to walk with God in order to turn devastation into transformation. Soon I will tell the story of how resilience allowed me to return to the game I love.”

“I promised you I would be back.”

He showed a hype video of himself working out as he continues trying to get himself back physically, potentially alluding to a season where he’ll hopefully contend for a spot on the offense.

Best of luck to him, as it sounds like he’s overcome a lot just to survive.  The fact he’s even in a position to get back to football shape is amazing, and it would be great to see him continue his career.

The Patriots could certainly use his help as tackle depth continues to be an issue, with the club clearly facing some big questions there this offseason.

(PHOTO: Greg M. Cooper – USA TODAY Sports)

Slater Candid About Belichick in “The Dynasty”

We’re one day away from Apple+ releasing the next two episodes of “The Dynasty,” (they’ve been coming out on Thursday nights as of late) and apparently Matthew Slater ends up pretty honest in episode eight when it comes to Bill Belichick’s relationship with Tom Brady.

Zack Cox – formerly of NESN and currently a free-agent reporter – posted on Twitter (X or whatever) yesterday that Slater was apparently not keen with how Belichick treated Brady in 2016.

“During that (2016) season, Tom was unbelievable,” said Slater.  “But Coach Belichick, being Coach Belichick, held Tom to even a higher standard than everyone else. Do I think Tom felt disrespected? Yeah, I think so. I don’t think I would want to be treated differently, but I would want a certain level of respect, especially as a grown man. But what that does for Tom Brady, that’s going to add fire to an already burning inferno.”

“It just felt like at times with Belichick, we lost the game even though we won. It was brutal. I mean, not only was he critical of every player in there, but he was extremely critical of Tom. You see a lot of coaches in the league and the love affair they have with their star players, and Bill’s never been that way.”

If what Salter is saying is true, which there’s certainly no reason to think otherwise, it’s hard not to wonder what Belichick’s motive may have been.

Going back to a media session in January of 2015, Belichick made that epic press conference about the psi allegations, with the club taking steps to try and shoot down the accusations.  So whether or not Belichick was frustrated over whatever Brady’s part had been in DeflateGate, which saw the quarterback suspended four games to start that year, or whether or not the supposed internal issues about Jimmy Garoppolo were really true, it seems like there would have had to have possibly been a reason – valid or not – for Belichick to be like that.

Either way, it sounds like Brady faced a lot of adversity that year, and some of it appeared to come off the field internally.  That obviously kicked off a sequence of events – as this series is apparently going to point out – that likely factored into his departure years later.

The series hinted that some of this was going to be talked about, and it appears this week may mark the start of it.

Odds and Ends:

According to New York Daily News reporter Pat Leonard, the Patriots are expected to be a potential suitor for Giants free agent running back Saquan Barkley, citing sources. The 27-year old is coming off a season where he rushed for 962 yards and would give them both depth and a possible back up plan for Rhamondre Stevenson, who is a free agent after this season. … NFL Films is apparently not pleased with “The Dynasty” documentary.  While they’re acknowledged in the credits, a source told NBC that the organization “was displeased with the portrayal of Bill Belichick in the series and chose to disassociate itself from director Matthew Hamachek’s project.”  That’s obviously been a big talking point locally as Belichick has seemingly taken the brunt of a lot of the criticism thus far, with NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran reporting recently that Belichick also does not like how he is portrayed in the series.  The former Patriots coach has made it known he has a big affinity for NFL Films, and they apparently seem to agree when it comes to his portrayal. … It appears the Patriots could face off against one of their former players next season.  Free agent tight end Jonnu Smith was reportedly in Miami this week meeting with the Dolphins and was in negotiations for a potential contract.  He spent last season in Atlanta where he caught 50 passes for 582 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2023. … Mac Jones is a name that appears to be coming up in Denver, with Sean Payton obviously in need of a quarterback after releasing Russell Wilson.  Payton’s the type of guy who is big on thumbing his nose at critics and proving people wrong, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he decided to be the guy who tried to resurrect Jones’ is career with the Broncos.

READ NEXT:
Patriots Hit Dugger With Transition Tag

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for PatsFans.com, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.


Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Calvin Anderson Dalton Schultz Denver Broncos Jerod Mayo Kyle Dugger Mac Jones Matthew Slater Michael Onwenu New England Patriots Saquan Barkley Sean Payton Tom Brady Transition Tag Definition

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    Michael P. McGrath
    Michael P. McGrath
    21 days ago

    Imagine the BB criticism if his team had not been in 9 SB’s winning 6. A record never to be matched.

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