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Patriots Are Reportedly Considering Special Teams Change

A New England Patriots helmet prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins in 2022.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 09: A detail of a New England Patriots helmet prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots may boot punter Jake Bailey.

Fresh off signing an extension that gave him the position's third-most guaranteed money, Bailey has faltered mightily in his fourth season. The 2020 All-Pro has the worst net average (35.4) of all qualified punters with the second-lowest yards per punt average (43.2) ahead of Matt Haack.

According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, the Patriots will "access their options" by working out free-agent punters this week. They could sign a punter to the practice squad and elevate him to the active roster as soon as Week 8.

New England used a fifth-round pick on Bailey in 2019. He responded by earning All-Pro honors in his second season, boasting a 45.6-yard net average while pinning 31 of his 55 punts inside the 20.

Yet Bailey regressed last season and is faring far worse in 2022. As noted by Doug Kyed, Pro Football Focus grades him as the NFL's No. 27 punter.  

Bailey's four punts (none inside the 20) changed field position by just 127 total yards during Monday's 33-14 loss to the Chicago Bears.

The 3-4 Patriots will go into MetLife Stadium to face the New York Jets this Sunday. While most observers will monitor their brewing quarterback controversy, a special-teams change could also loom.