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Patriots sign linebacker Jahlani Tavai to 2-year, $4.4 million contract extension

Related: Linebacker Jahlani Tavai has carved out a valuable role on the Patriots defense

Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Update 11/29/2022: Patriots sign linebacker Jahlani Tavai to 2-year, $4.4 million contract extension

Head coach Bill Belichick confirmed during his Friday press conference that the New England Patriots have indeed extended linebacker Jahlani Tavai. While he did not comment on the reported contract details, he acknowledged that the team had signed him to a new deal.

“Yeah, of course,” Belichick said when asked during his Tuesday press conference whether or not production and consistency were the reasons behind the new deal. “And his contract was up, that’s another reason — or, it was going to be.”

Original story 11/29/2022: Report: Patriots sign linebacker Jahlani Tavai to 2-year, $4.4 million contract extension

The New England Patriots have locked up a member of their linebacker group for the long term. As first reported by Field Yates of ESPN, the team and Jahlani Tavai have agreed to a two-year contract extension.

Tavai will earn up to $4.4 million over those two extra years that have been added to his current deal. He was originally scheduled to enter unrestricted free agency in March but is now under contract in New England through 2024.

Tavai, 26, entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick by the Detroit Lions in 2019. Despite showing some promise early on in his career, the Hawai’i product never quite lived up to his draft status and was released after two seasons and 31 in-game appearances as a Lion.

The Patriots picked him up one day later, signing him to their practice squad in September 2021. He was eventually promoted to the 53-man roster the following month and has been on New England’s active team ever since; in total, he has played 24 games for the organization since it picked him up.

Tavai was initially used primarily on special teams, but this year has managed to carve out a prominent role on defense as well.

Seeing action in all 11 of the Patriots’ contests, he has been on the field for 366 of 699 defensive snaps. His playing time share of 52.4 percent is the second highest among the team’s off-ball linebackers behind only Ja’Whaun Bentley’s 74.8. He has notched 38 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits.

Additionally, Tavai is ranked third on the team with 210 kicking game snaps (of 297; 70.7%). He has so far made one tackle in the game’s third phase.