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Patriots linebacker Josh Uche sacks Bills quarterback Josh Allen late in the 2023 season. Uche reportedly passed up a two-year offer elsewhere to stay with New England on a one-year deal for 2024. Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

Josh Uche reportedly gave the New England Patriots a heck of a hometown discount.

According to reports, the young pass rusher turned down more money in free agency to return to the Patriots this season. NFL Network reports that Uche had an offer that was worth $15 million over two years with $11 million guaranteed.

Instead, Uche returned to the Patriots on a one-year, $3 million deal that could be worth up to $8 million, per the report, which noted that Uche’s “heart was in New England.”

That’s a lot of money Uche left on the table to come back to the Patriots, especially in terms of guaranteed money. The 25-year-old pass rusher has had an up-and-down run in New England. Uche has always been a dynamic athlete on the edge, as he showed during his breakout season in 2022 when he notched 11.5 sacks.

However, Uche’s production dropped in 2023, when he finished with 3.0 sacks. That regression coincided with star pass rusher Matthew Judon missing most of the season because of an injury. With Judon set to return in 2024, Uche could be gearing up for another strong season.

That could also help explain why Uche took the deal he did. The one-year deal on the cheap could represent Uche betting on himself. If Uche posts double-digit sacks again in 2024, he could hit the market in the prime of his career and line up a huge pay day.


However, Uche has made it clear that it’s not all about the money. He’s spoken about his desire to remain in New England, especially when it comes to playing under new head coach Jerod Mayo.

“He’d be a coach I want to play for. I’d run through a wall for him,” Uche said. “I love players coaches. Guys that take it deeper than the X’s and O’s. It’s more personal. You want to go out and do a good job because you know you have someone behind you that’s backing and supporting you. I’m all in on Mayo.”

J.C. JACKSON may have left the building, but the possibility exists for him to return.

While the Patriots released him on March 1, there’s mutual interest in having the cornerback return, a source confirmed to There’s nothing imminent, but it’s something the two sides could revisit down the road at a later date.

Jackson still needs to get a handle on his off-field issues. He missed the final four weeks of the regular season after his agent, Neil Schwartz, revealed that Jackson was dealing with “mental health issues.”

The Patriots let him in part as a cost-cutting measure. Jackson had an expected cap hit of just over $14.4 million in 2024, via Spotrac. The team inherited the five-year deal worth $82.5 million he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022.


Patriots Coach Jerod Mayo spoke highly of Jackson right before the team set him loose.

“I love J.C. … coached him, saw him develop into a man,” Mayo said. “We’ll see how it goes going forward. Heck of a football player. Two years removed from injury. He’s probably going to move a lot better this year, so we’ll see.”

Jackson never quite recaptured his form after being traded back to New England. He was benched for missing curfew at the team hotel ahead of the Patriots’ Week 9 matchup with Washington.

The 28-year-old’s best season came with the Patriots in 2021, as he led the NFL with 23 passes defensed. He also had eight interceptions.

LINEBACKER ANFERNEE Jennings has signed a three-year, $12 million deal that could go up to as much as $24 million, according to reports, as the Patriots retained another key piece of their defense.

Jennings, 26, is coming off a career year in New England. The 2020 third-round pick made a significant leap in his fourth season with the Patriots, starting 14 games and recording 66 tackles, including a team-leading 16 tackles for loss.


The 2023 season was Jennings’ first as a full-time starter. The Alabama product stepped in as a major contributor after a season-ending injury to Matthew Judon. Prior to that, Jennings had been a part of the defensive rotation but hadn’t made a huge impact. But in the final season of his rookie deal, Jennings had a breakout year, showing that he could be an impact player.

Jennings is the latest key piece of the defense that the Patriots have retained before the start of free agency. The team also retained safety Kyle Dugger (franchise tag) and linebacker Josh Uche (one-year deal). That’s in addition to keeping key pieces on offense, including offensive lineman Michael Onwenu and tight end Hunter Henry.

THE PATRIOTS are signing ex-Steelers defensive lineman Armon Watts to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million, according to reports.

Watts, 27, was a rotational player in Pittsburgh. He started his career as a sixth-round pick of the Vikings in 2019. The 6-foot-5, 307-pounder figures to be a depth piece behind top defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Christian Barmore.

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