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Report: Patriots have made offer to free agent safety Kyle Dugger

Report: Patriots have made offer to free agent safety Kyle Dugger originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Kyle Dugger is one of the most important free agents the New England Patriots have to consider re-signing this offseason.

And it sounds like the Patriots have made an effort to bring him back.

MassLive's Mark Daniels and Karen Guregian reported Thursday that the Patriots "have had preliminary talks with Kyle Dugger, and have an offer on the table for the starting safety, according to a source."

Dugger was the team's second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he's become an integral piece of their defense both with his on-field performance and leadership.

The 27-year-old safety tallied a career-high 71 solo tackles last season, along with 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and seven passes defensed in 17 games.

The Patriots could franchise tag Dugger, but that would cost them $17.1 million next season. A long-term extension, at the right price, makes more sense for both sides.

The Patriots have around $80 million in salary cap space right now, per OverTheCap, although that number would increase above $90 million if they release veteran cornerback J.C. Jackson.

The legal tampering period of free agency begins March 11. Teams can start signing free agents when the new league year opens March 13.