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NFL free agency 2023: Patriots reportedly set to release starting cornerback Jalen Mills

Mills was a starter the last two seasons.

Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

The shakeup in the New England Patriots’ defensive backfield continued on Friday. One week after safety Devin McCourty announced his retirement, cornerback Jalen Mills has been informed of his release, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Mills, 28, first joined the Patriots on a four-year, $24 million free agency contract in 2021. He took over a starting role as an outside cornerback right away and over the next two years appeared in 26 games, registering two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

However, his 2022 campaign was a challenging. While he did look good when on the field — opposing passers went 27-for-45 for 333 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions when targeting him — staying there was a problem. The Patriots’ nominal CB2 missed one game with a hamstring issue and the final six of the season with a nagging groin injury.

Now, the Patriots are moving on from him. The move will create net salary cap savings of roughly $4.1 million versus a dead cap charge of $1.25 million.

More importantly, however, it free up another starting spot in the New England secondary and further stresses the need for additional help being brought in. At the moment, the Patriots’ cornerback group consists of Jonathan Jones, Jack Jones, Marcus Jones, Shaun Wade, Quandre Mosely and Rodney Randle.

A seventh-round selection out of LSU in the 2016 NFL Draft, Mills spent the first five seasons of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. Playing all over their secondary, he saw action in 67 games and won a Super Bowl.