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New England Patriots

New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 06: Jalen Mills #2 of the New England Patriots reacts in the second half of a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

The Patriots made an unexpected cut on Friday, as NFL free agency continues to roll along. According to Adam Schefter, they are releasing cornerback Jalen Mills after two seasons in New England. According to Schefter, the move will clear about $5 million in cap space.

Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston added some possible context to the decision. He tweeted Friday that he doesn’t think the Patriots were “thrilled at the availability portion of what [Mills] brought to the table.” Mills played 10 games in the 2022 season, before a groin injury suffered in Week 12 sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Apparently, Bill Belichick felt Mills could have made it back on the field, and didn’t do all he could to accomplish that.

  • The Patriots now have a clear opening at cornerback, and preferably for someone with some size. Their tallest corner is Shaun Wade at 6-foot-1, but he’s a reserve who has never been a lock to make the 53-man roster. Their main cornerbacks, as of this writing, are all under 6 feet.

    Jonathan Jones and Jack Jones project as the starting outside corners for 2023, barring more free agent moves and additions in the draft. There’s talent there, but the Pats could still use a bigger outside corner who can play effective press-man coverage against bigger receivers.

  • Also, it seems that the Patriots didn’t have interest in trying Mills as their deep safety, in the wake of Devin McCourty’s retirement. As they move on from Mills, they are showing real interest in adding someone in his prime with free safety experience.

    According to Mark Daniels of MassLive on Friday, the Patriots are showing interest in former Rams safety Nick Scott. This comes after they hosted another former Rams safety, Taylor Rapp, for a free-agent visit. Both Rapp and Scott played the majority of their snaps as deep safeties for the Rams in 2022.

    That appears to be the course Belichick is on with his secondary. Cutting Mills could very well be a precursor to signing one of the aforementioned free agents. The Patriots also retained safety Jabrill Peppers on a two-year deal this week.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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