Just prior to the start of the Patriots' Monday training camp session, Adam Schefter broke news on a report that punter Jake Bailey had signed an extension with the team that will keep him in New England through the 2025 season, as the team continues to make some roster moves early on in camp.
"I'm just so happy and blessed I get a few more years here," said Bailey following the practice, confirming the deal had been finalized. "I was just kind of on the phone with my agent and I was like, 'Alright, that's it. We're good with that,' and it wasn't like a crazy big moment. But it was fine and a huge milestone in my life and just thankful God put me in this position."
After taking over the punting role in 2019, Bailey turned in a Pro Bowl season in 2020, leading the league with a 48.7 punt average. He was named to the All-Pro team. The honors helped bump his salary, creating some uncertainty as he entered the final year of his rookie deal. Now, he has some contract security while the Patriots were able to open up some 2022 cap space with which to maneuver.
"Anytime there's uncertainty, you know, it's just always some in the back of your head, but at our position, you have to be able to just compartmentalize and go out on the field and execute," said Bailey, "And if you're not able to do that with whatever is distracting you you're not going to play for very long."
Bailey was sure to credit his teammates, specifically his special teams cohorts, including kicker Nick Folk, who has provided a steady veteran presence for the youngster.
"[Nick]'s up there with every single guy on special teams that I rely on, him and Joe [Cardona] I probably rely on the most, you know, they're my guys each and every play," said Bailey. "Slater too and Justin Bethel, you know without those guys, I don't know if I'd be in the position I'm in today and I'm just so thankful to them that they've worked hard and put me in this position.
"Nick's just a savvy, wise old guy. You know, anytime I have a question, I'll bounce it off for him. The pre-shot, it's like having a caddy back there, the pre-shot little three things he says to me and it always keeps me in a good mental space and what he brings to my game is invaluable. I'm a way better punter, kickoff guy, holder with him in my corner."
With his contract uncertainty in the rearview mirror, Bailey can now shift his full focus to 2022. Asked what he's most excited about now that it's done, Bailey was quick to add the local city to the list of plusses.
"My teammates, coaches, I love playing for Coach Belichick and then just the community too," said Bailey. "I love being a part of Boston, just being up in this town is awesome."