Patriots extend punter Jake Bailey

Patriots punter Jake Bailey was in a great position to negotiate a lucrative contract extension this year, and now he has done so.

Bailey and the Patriots have agreed to a four-year, $13.5 million contract through the 2025 season that includes $6.5 million fully guaranteed, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Why did Bailey have such good contract leverage? Because of the proven performance escalators that were included in the league’s latest Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players’ union.

A fifth-round draft pick in 2019, Bailey would ordinarily make $965,000 this year, the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. But the CBA’s proven performance escalator provides significant pay raises to non-first-round draft picks who make a Pro Bowl within their first three NFL seasons.

Bailey was chosen to the Pro Bowl after the 2020 season, which meant his base salary would increase to $3,986,000 in the final year of his rookie contract. That’s a pay raise of more than $3 million for that Pro Bowl selection. For all the talk about how irrelevant the Pro Bowl has become, it matters a lot to some players, and Bailey is one of them.

Now that final year of his contract has been torn up, and his new deal keeps him in New England through 2025.