The Patriots have given punter Jake Bailey the boot.
The former All-Pro and one of the highest paid punters in the NHL was released by the Patriots on Friday, one year after inking a four year $13.5 million deal.
Bailey ended up being placed on IR and when it was time for him to return, the team suspended him for the final two games of the season. The suspension voided most of the $6.25 million in guaranteed money he was set to earn in following years.
According to a report by ESPN’s Mike Reiss at the time, the suspension was in part due to “differing viewpoints on if Bailey was ready to return to game action.
Bailey filed a grievance over the suspension and his agent at the time disputed the Patriots actions.
“While Jake Bailey was on IR he never missed a single treatment, meeting or practice,’’ Bailey’s agent, Doug Hendrickson said in a statement shortly after the suspension was announced. “He was hoping to come off IR to play last weekend, but Jake was informed he was being suspended these last two games. This comes as a surprise given his full participation during injury reserve. We have filed a grievance to fight this unknown suspension.”
At his end of the season press conference Patriots head coach Bill Belichick expressed hope that Bailey would at some point return to the team.
Obviously that ended up not being the case.
Bailey was drafted by the Patriots in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Stanford product beat out incumbent Ryan Allen in his first training camp and remained the Patritots starter for the next four seasons while healthy.
All total, Bailey played in 58 regular-season games, punting 222 times for a 45.9-yard average and 102 punts inside the 20-yard line.