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“Dissatisfied” Star Could Seek Trade During NFL Draft

New England Patriots safty Kyle Dugger has not signed the transition tag and the team could be forced to trade their homegrown star.
Kyle Dugger Contract

Star safety Kyle Dugger and the New England Patriots could be heading toward a trade. The Lenoir-Rhyne product spent the entirety of his rookie contract establishing himself as one of the game’s better hybrid safeties and was set for a major payday in 2024.

However, the Patriots used the transition tag to keep him from reaching the open market. While stuck in New England, Dugger watched safeties across the league cash in on massive deals. New England’s homegrown talent has yet to sign the transition tag, and Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald doesn’t see this ending well. According to the Patriots insider, Kyle Dugger is dissatisfied with the team, and  New England probably couldn’t get anything more than a fourth-round pick if they decide to trade the safety.

Kyle Dugger Won’t Sign Transition Tag, Could Request Trade

The New England Patriots have had a fascinating offseason. While they entered the offseason with plenty of cap space, they haven’t spent all that much. Their biggest transactions have involved re-signing their players like Mike Onwenu and Kendrick Bourne. It’s clear that, even though the Patriots have money to burn, they’re not going to overspend for no reason. Because of this, the team could choose to trade Kyle Dugger if they can’t make the money work.

Even if the Patriots can only get a fourth-round pick, they still might be willing to iron out a trade for Kyle Dugger. Even with a new quarterback, this team won’t be good in 2024, so what’s the point in having Dugger play out the final year of his contract before joining a new team in 2025? The Patriots are better off cutting their losses and maximizing their return, and these five teams should be willing to give up a mid- or late-round pick for the safety.

Possible Team Fits

Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts came THIS close to making the playoffs in 2024, but they’ll have to do something to improve if they want to keep pace in the AFC South. Anthony Richardson will help, but the Titans, Texans, and Jaguars all added considerable talent in free agency. This team needs to improve their secondary, and they could do that with a Kyle Dugger trade. The former second-round pick brings a much-needed physical element to the group while also possessing the speed to make plays in coverage.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints still need to find a proper replacement for Marcus Maye, and they are unlikely to do that in the 2024 NFL Draft. With only two picks in the first three rounds and a desperate need at tackle, the Saints can’t afford to invest in a safety. What they can do, however, is trade one of their multiple Day 3 picks for Kyle Dugger. While they might have a tough time making the money work, nobody is better at manipulating the salary cap than New Orleans.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are going for the first three-peat in NFL history, and they can’t afford any weak links on the roster. While cornerback is a top priority after losing L’Jarius Sneed, this team could also use an upgrade at the safety position. Kyle Dugger is a clear upgrade on Kansas City’s current starters, and they have the cap space to trade for the safety while giving him the contract he deserves.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens play with three safeties more than any other team in the league. While the starting duo of Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams is one of the best in the league, they need to find a replacement for Geno Stone. Kyle Dugger spends more time in the box than Stone, but the trade target has the speed and versatility to play over the top while providing another physical element to one of the game’s best defenses.

Detroit Lions

The Lions signed C.J. Gardner-Johnson in 2023 to be their physical enforcer in the middle of the defense. However, the veteran missed the majority of the season with an injury and is now back with the Philadelphia Eagles. With a major need in the secondary, Detroit could trade for Kyle Dugger and similarly use him. Dugger and Gardner-Johnson have similar games, but Dugger is the more reliable and consistent player.


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