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The Patriots Make Their First Big Move of Free Agency SZN by Tagging Kyle Dugger

Source - The New England Patriots announced that they are utilizing the transition tag designation to extend their rights to S Kyle Dugger today. The tag is a one-year tender offer for the average of the top 10 salaries at the safety position.

 "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," said Patriots Head Coach Jerod Mayo. "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."

All I can say is this is exactly the kind of swift and decisive action we should all be looking for from a new braintrust trying to earn the public's trust. 

Giphy Images.

Jerod Mayo's defense was the one unit on this team we could count on last year. Despite the lack of points and an incomprehensible percentage of offensive drives ending in 3 & outs and turnovers, they kept us in games. 

And a key factor in there was Kyle Dugger. There's a market for his services, and letting this drag on into the legal tampering period, or even the illegal tampering period which has probably already begun (like it had between Tom Brady and Dolphins' ownership in 2019) would be a mistake. You hate to use these tags unless it's absolutely necessary because it tends to breed resentment among a lot of players and their agents. So it's good that Mayo wasted no time declaring this is being done to get a long-term deal done. Which should be the goal. 

I don't have much to add besides making the point this is what I wanted as of a couple of weeks ago. Though I was referring to the Franchise, not the Transition, tag when I ranked keeping Dugger behind only Michael Onwenu as the biggest priority on the current roster:

Schefter makes a fair point about Franchising Dugger. He's as important to Jerod Mayo's defense as Onwenu is to his offense. But Franchised safeties are much more cost effective than OTs. He's been making everybody's Top Free Agents Available list (he's No. 20 on Pro Football Focus), and has unquestionably emerged as one of their most dependable defenders. Dugger led the unit in total snaps with over 1,100 and solo tackles, with 79. He was also one of three Patriots to have over 100 combined tackles. And in addition to run support, has shown to be versatile enough to cover tight ends and backs as well as rush the passer (15 total pressures). Moreover, he's the leader at the back end of a defense that was able to lose Devin McCourty to retirement without a huge drop off. Dugger would be tough if not impossible to replace in a scheme that relies heavily on the back end of its secondary.

I'm glad to be right on this one. I'm still only taking my first baby steps with respect to figuring out how Mayo and Eliot Wolf intend to do business. And while we've got a long, long road ahead of us, this step is most definitely in the right direction. Let's keep it up.