The New England Patriots certainly have their share of up-and-coming players on team-friendly deals.
But in the minds of several AFC coaches, there is one player above the rest on the Patriots roster who isn’t making an exorbitant amount of money that they wished they had on their teams.
When speaking to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, three out of four coaches identified third-year safety Kyle Dugger as the low-salaried player they would pluck from the Patriots roster.
“He’s mean. He could have played in any era,” one coach told Giardi.
Dugger became a versatile stalwart in New England’s defense a season ago. Last year, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound safety recorded four interceptions and 92 tackles, which tied him for second most on the team.
Still on his rookie contract, Dugger provides exceptional value due to his rise in production. Dugger, who was selected at No. 37 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Lenoir-Rhyne, signed a four-year, $8.3 million deal after getting drafted and has just a $1.4 million base salary for the upcoming campaign, according to Spotrac.
The 26-year-old Dugger made a substantial leap in his play in his second season in the NFL, and one AFC assistant coach wouldn’t be stunned if his ascension continues.
“He could be fooled with misdirection or a QB could maneuver him with his eyes earlier in his career,” the anonymous coach told Giardi. “You could see the game slowed down for him a bunch last year. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t become a week-in, week-out force.”
The Patriots have Dugger under team control for two more seasons before the hard-hitting safety can hit free agency as an unrestricted free agent in 2024.