The New England Patriots have agreed to a two-year extension with longtime safety Patrick Chung that will have him under contract in Foxborough through the 2023 season, according to Field Yates of ESPN.
Chung gets $3 million to sign, per Yates, and is now due up to $12.8 million over the next four years. Chung was already signed through the 2021 season after inking a one-year extension with the team last offseason, but the club did have an out to his contract this offseason where they could have cleared nearly $2 million off their books for 2020.
This deal for New England could kill two birds with one stone as it could potentially free up enough space to sign rookie safety and 2020 second-round pick Kyle Dugger to his rookie contract along with ensuring that the veteran Chung, who’ll be 33 years old by the start of the regular season, will be under Patriots control likely for the rest of his career.
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Chung has been one of the more reliable and underrated pieces to the Patriots defense, a unit that was the best in the NFL in 2019 by nearly every meaningful measure.
In 13 regular season matches played, he totaled 51 tackles and three passes defended.
The safety was originally drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Oregon and has spent the large majority of his career in New England (minus a one-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013).
During this second stint with the Patriots, Chung has really come into his own as Bill Belichick and company have put him in a far better position for success, moving him to the strong/box safety role.
Chung will be 36 years old by the time this contract is up and has dealt with a number of injuries throughout the course of his career, so it’s uncertain if he’ll actually play to the end of this contract. In fact, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported on Wednesday that the safety considered retirement before re-upping with the Patriots.
The team did seem to find a potential heir to Chung at the 2020 draft, however, in Dugger, who could be groomed over that time to rise through the ranks in the secondary.
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