According to ESPN, New England safety Patrick Chung has agreed to a two-year contract extension. Gregory Payan/Associated Press

The Patriots and safety Patrick Chung agreed to a two-year contract extension Wednesday, according to a report from ESPN’s Field Yates.

Chung has been a starter in New England every year since his 2009 rookie season, except the 2013 season, which he spent in Philadelphia. He will receive $3 million upon signing and make up to $12.8 million over the life of his revised deal, which is expected to free up almost $1 million in cap space for the Patriots. The team needed additional room to sign top draft pick Kyle Dugger and execute future roster additions during the regular season.

Chung also received a 1-year extension last spring. During an injury-riddled 2019 regular season, he posted 51 tackles and three pass breakups. He was forced to leave the wild-card playoff loss to the Titans because of an ankle injury.

Defensive captain Devin McCourty spoke to Chung’s value after that game, as one of the most versatile and respected players in the locker room.

“Pat’s always an integral part of our defensive plan. We lose him, and guys just have to rotate and fill the different roles he has,” McCourty said before later adding: “Pat’s a great player, and whenever you don’t have good players out there, it’s always tougher.”

Despite being listed as a safety, Chung took the majority of his defensive snaps last year at linebacker. At 5-11 and 215 pounds, he battled offensive linemen on running plays and tailed running backs and tight ends in pass coverage. His contributions helped solidify the Patriots’ top-ranked pass defense, which led the league in all major categories.

Without Chung’s physicality and versatility, the Patriots would have been unable to deploy as many as six and seven defensive backs so frequently and successfully.

However, it’s possible Chung’s playing time could wane in 2020. The Patriots not only drafted Dugger, but they signed former Chargers safety Adrian Phillips in free agency. Like Chung, Phillips is known for his ability to play across the back seven, seamlessly switching between safety and linebacker. Another safety, Terrence Brooks, carries a similar skill set.

Chung is joined on the Patriots’ depth chart by fellow safeties McCourty, Phillips, Dugger, Brooks, Cody Davis, Malik Gant, Adarius Pickett, Myles Bryant and Brandon King. The Patriots are currently rostering more safeties than any team in the NFL.

• The Patriots second-round draft pick Kyle Dugger, a defensive back and punt returner from Lenoir-Rhyne.

He was the last member of the team’s 2020 draft class who was unsigned.

Dugger, 24, had 237 tackles, 10 interceptions and six forced fumbles in college while also returning 67 punts for a school-record 929 yards and six touchdowns. He received the Cliff Harris Award as the best defensive player in NCAA Division II.

The Patriots have signed 10 draft picks and 16 undrafted free agents.

Devin and Jason McCourty of the Patriots are among the nominees for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award.

The other finalists announced Wednesday by ESPN are Nelson Cruz of the Minnesota Twins, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx and WWE wrestler Titus O’Neil.

Finalists for the humanitarian team of the year award are the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York City FC and Sacramento Kings.

The awards honor athletes, teams and sports industry professionals who are using sports to make a difference in their communities. This year’s awards will combine with The ESPYS, which will air on June 21.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.