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NFL free agency 2023: Patriots sign Corliss Waitman to fill their punter vacancy

Waitman already had one stint with the Patriots in 2021.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have a new punter. The team officially announced on Thursday that they have agreed to terms with former Denver Broncos’ punter Corliss Waitman.

It will be Waitman’s second stint in New England, as the 27-year old spent roughy a month of the 2021 season on the practice squad before being signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ active roster. After being released by Pittsburgh, Waitman was claimed by the Broncos and started all 17 games for the team last season.

After originally receiving an exclusive right tender from the Broncos this offseason, it was withdrawn on Tuesday after they signed veteran punter Riley Dixon. Bill Belichick then wasted little time bringing the left-footed punter into the fold.

The punter position was a problem for the Patriots last season as both Jake Bailey and Michael Palardy ranked near the bottom of the league in multiple statistical categories. Waitman, on the other hand, ranked much better statistically averaging 46.6 yards per attempt (20th) with a net average of 41.5 yards (15th). He also ranked within the top 10 of the league with an average hang time of 4.37 seconds.

New England also struggled in the kickoff department last season after Bailey was placed on the injured reserve. While Waitman has never kicked off during his NFL career, he did handle those duties in college at South Alabama.