FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots‘ plans to release starting cornerback Jalen Mills have changed, with the sides agreeing to a revised one-year deal worth up to $6.1 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday.
Releasing Mills would have saved the Patriots about $5 million on the salary cap; he had two years remaining on the four-year, $24 million contract he had signed in March 2021.
So as part of the agreement for Mills to stay with the Patriots, one year was reduced off the original contract. Mills had been scheduled to earn base salaries of $5 million apiece in 2023 and 2024, with the chance to earn an additional $1 million in per-game roster bonuses each year.
Mills, 28, started every game in his first year with the team but missed the Patriots’ playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills because of illness. This past season, he started 10 of the first 11 games before missing the remainder of the year with a groin injury.
Over his first two seasons in New England, 6-foot, 191-pound Mills totaled 78 tackles, 2 interceptions and 12 passes defended. Although he played cornerback, Mills recently tweeted that he also views himself as a safety, which is the type of position flexibility the Patriots generally value.
The Patriots could experiment with Mills at safety after the retirement of longtime stalwart Devin McCourty. At cornerback, the club re-signed veteran Jonathan Jones to a two-year contract with a base value of $19 million last week. The team also returns 2022 draft picks Marcus Jones and Jack Jones at the position, along with restricted free agent Myles Bryant and depth players Quandre Mosely, Shaun Wade and Rodney Randle.