New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 17: Jalen Mills #2 of the New England Patriots celebrates after the Patriots stopped the Dallas Cowboys on fourth down in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Jalen Mills’ free agency didn’t last long. After being released by the Patriots on Friday the 28-year-old defensive back has already found a new home – his old one.

As first reported by Jordan Schultz of The Score, Mills is re-signing with the Patriots just five days after his release was first reported. ESPN’s Adam Schefter later reported that Mills’ new deal in New England is for one year, and worth up to $6.1 million. Mills’ previous deal had two remaining years on it. The Patriots had saved about $5 million by releasing him, but to know exactly how much money this contract shuffle nets them in the end we’ll need the details (guaranteed money, etc.) of this new deal.

UPDATE: Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald has clarified Mills’ contract move was a restructure, not a release and re-signing. 

  • Mills’ contract isn’t the only thing changing as he returns to Foxborough. According to Schultz, Mills “plans to go back to safety next season.” Mills played safety in his final season in Philadelphia in 2020, before signing with the Patriots in 2021.

    The safety position – specifically deep/free safety – has become a position of focus for the Patriots as of late, following the retirement of Devin McCourty earlier this month. While the team has explored external acquisitions, such as hosting free agent Taylor Rapp last week, there’s some belief – including from McCourty himself – that they have the players currently in the building to fill the role.

    To this point, Kyle Dugger, Jabrill Peppers, and Adrian Phillips have played almost exclusively box safety in New England. However, that was with McCourty as a wire-to-wire player on the back end.

  • In his last season in Philadelphia in 2020, Mills logged a 98 percent usage rate on defense. In 15 games, he made 74 tackles including four for a loss with 1.5 sacks, three pass breakups, and an interception.

    Throughout this offseason, the Patriots have seemed committed to keeping last year’s defensive unit together, and this signing highlights that. So far they’ve also re-signed Peppers, cornerback Jonathan Jones, linebackers Mack Wilson and Raekwon McMillan, and defensive linemen Damien Ekuale and Carl Davis. Defensive back Myles Bryant was also given a restricted free agent tender. Their only remaining pending defensive free agent is Joejuan Williams, who missed the entire 2022 season.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at