When the New England Patriots and veteran safety Patrick Chung agreed to a two-year contract extension earlier on Wednesday, they created the necessary financial framework to officially bring their last remaining unsigned draft pick into the fold: with nine of 10 selections signed, only second-rounder Kyle Dugger was left to be taken care of. Today, as first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the team has done just that.
New England originally selected Dugger after trading out of the first round of last month’s draft, picking him with the 37th overall selection. One of the most athletically outstanding defenders to enter the pros this year, the Lenoir-Rhyne product offers an enticing combination of size, range and explosiveness that could make him a viable option as a deep safety or a safety/linebacker hybrid in the mold of the soon-to-be 33-year-old Chung.
Either way, he has now officially joined one of the best safety groups in the entire NFL: Dugger and the newly signed Chung are just two of four roster locks, with veteran Devin McCourty and offseason acquisition Adrian Phillips also all guaranteed a spot on the team this season. Add potential backup options Terrence Brooks and Cody Davis — both of whom fighting for potentially one final spot on the team — and you get an impressive mix of depth and experience.
In accordance with the NFL’s rookie wage scale, which was introduced as part of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, Dugger has signed a four-year contract. Per Over The Cap, the deal will be worth a total of $8.33 million with a 2020 salary cap hit of $1.5 million. As opposed to lower-drafted members of the Patriots’ rookie class, Dugger will therefore count against the team’s books even with the top-51 rule being in place during the offseason.