The Patriots are bringing back core special teamer Justin Bethel on a three-year, $6 million deal, according to a league source.
Bethel, alongside fellow gunners Matthew Slater and Cody Davis, was essential to New England’s punt coverage last season. He played in all 16 games and was on the field for a team-high 84.1 percent of the Patriots’ special teams snaps.
Since signing with the Patriots in 2019, Bethel, 30, has been used exclusively on special teams. Earlier in his career, he also contributed as a defensive back.
The Patriots still have some decisions to make with their special teams unit. Davis and kicker Nick Folk are both set to become unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins on March 17. Slater is under contract but indicated at the end of the season he would have to discuss his future plans with his family.
Jim McBride contributed to this report.
Nicole Yang can be reached at email@example.com.