Five days after news broke about their plans to release Jalen Mills, the Patriots decided to retain the 28-year-old defensive back on a restructured deal, a league source confirmed.
Mills, who originally signed a four-year, $24 million contract in 2021, will stay in New England on a one-year deal worth up to $6.1 million. As a result of the new agreement, the Patriots do not incur any dead money from Mills.
With longtime captain Devin McCourty retiring, Mills could help fill the void at safety. He played the position before moving to cornerback.
When McCourty retired, Mills tweeted: “Y’all know I really play safety, right?”
At safety, the Patriots have Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips, Jabrill Peppers, and Joshuah Bledsoe under contract. At cornerback, they have Jonathan Jones, Jack Jones, Marcus Jones, and Shaun Wade. Myles Bryant also can play both positions.
Mills started 10 games last season before missing the final six with a groin injury. He finished with two interceptions, five passes defensed, and 31 tackles.
Bailey issue resolved
Former Patriots punter Jake Bailey said Wednesday his grievance with the team has been resolved but did not elaborate much on last season’s suspension.
“The details of it are between me and the Patriots,” Bailey said. “The grievance is done, but everything surrounding it is in the past. I’m totally on a new team now. Just looking forward to how I can contribute to them.”
Bailey, who signed a one-year deal with Miami after New England released him, had filed a grievance following a two-game suspension levied by the team in January. Bailey’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, issued a statement at the time, saying they were “surprised” by the team’s decision.
“There’s a lot to unpack, and a lot of it is between them and me,” Bailey said Wednesday. “Confusion was a lot of it, and I think we’re just past it now at this point. It was something that happened and something that was unfortunate for both sides. Now I think both parties are in a better situation.”
The Patriots had signed Bailey, a first-team All-Pro in 2020, to a four-year, $13.5 million extension in August of last year. But his performance did not live up to the lucrative paycheck, with his numbers dipping significantly before he went on injured reserve with a back issue.
“A lot of it had to do with squatting a ton,” Bailey said. “I did not grow up loading my back with squats. I didn’t do it at all in college. And I really didn’t do it my first three years in the league. I kind of tried to start something new, tried to be more a part of the program, and it just really backfired the whole season.”
Having stopped squatting in Week 15, Bailey said he feels “pretty good.”
Eyes on Buckeyes
The Patriots sent five representatives to Ohio State’s Pro Day Wednesday. Draft prospects participating in workouts included wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njiba and tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
Jim McBride of the Globe staff contributed to this report.