The Patriots have been busy spending this offseason, adding tight end Mike Gesicki and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in recent days. They finally paid the money on Friday, releasing cornerback Jalen Mills two years into a $24 million deal, according to ESPN. Mills was one of the team’s top free agents in 2021, but his departure instantly saved the club nearly $5 million.
Originally signed to a four-year contract to start at cornerback against former All-Pro JC Jackson, Mills, 28, missed seven games through injury in 2022. He was discussed internally as a potential successor to retired security Devin McCourty, according to NFL Mediabut will hit the market for the second time in three years.
When healthy, Mills was a useful cover man for New England, recording two interceptions and 12 pass deflections in 26 starts for Bill Belichick’s defense. Prior to joining the Patriots, the former LSU standout spent five years with the Eagles. He finished his tenure in Philadelphia at safety, replacing Malcolm Jenkins, but served primarily as an outside corner. His best season came in 2017, when he had a career-high three selections and 14 pass deflections as part of a Super Bowl-winning secondary.
Earlier in free agency, the Patriots re-signed Mills’ teammate, Jonathan Jones, to a three-year contract. Jones is a candidate to start alongside either Marcus Jones or Jack Jones, both of whom were drafted by New England last year.