Jalen Mills, Patriots Agree to 4-Year, $24M Contract in FA; $9M Guaranteed

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2021

Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Mills (21) wears a FOCO mask before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Rich Schultz/Associated Press

The New England Patriots and former Philadelphia Eagles safety Jalen Mills reached an agreement Monday on a four-year, $24 million contract.

Drew Rosenhaus, Mills' agent, confirmed the details to ESPN's Adam Schefter and noted it includes $9 million in guaranteed money. It will become official when the NFL's new league year opens Wednesday.

Jalen Mills @greengoblin

Foxborough Let’s Run It‼️🔋

Mills was one of four quick additions by the Pats, who went to work taking advantage of having salary-cap space available in a year where most teams were forced to release veterans or restructure contracts to get under the $182.5 million cap, a steep reduction from last year's $198.2 million.

ESPN @espn

Matt Judon: 4 years, $56 million Jonnu Smith: 4 years, $50 million Jalen Mills: 4 years, $24 million Davon Godchaux: 2 years, $16 million Busy Monday afternoon for the Patriots' front office 💰 https://t.co/eJEPxC9PB6

The 26-year-old LSU product spent his first four seasons with the Eagles as a cornerback. He switched to safety before the start of the 2020 season and acclimated well, tallying a career-high 74 total tackles with three passes defended, 1.5 sacks and one interception in 15 games.

His best statistical season in Philadelphia came in 2017 when he recorded 64 tackles, 14 passes defended and three picks. He added 13 tackles and five passes defensed during the team's run to the Super Bowl LII title.

It's clear New England is focused on getting its defense back to an elite level. Along with the free-agent signings, linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung are expected to return in 2021 after opting out of last season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With safeties Chung and Devin McCourty both under contract, it's unclear whether the Pats plan to move Mills back to corner, have other roster moves on the horizon and will use their latest addition to the secondary in a roving role that changes based on the opponent's formation.

New England missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 last year. While the Patriots' hunt for a long-term franchise quarterback continues, their other moves should put them on track to get back in the postseason race in 2021.

And the Patriots still have ample cap space to continue revamping their roster.