Raekwon McMillan

Patriots To Extend LB Raekwon McMillan

Raekwon McMillan‘s history of contract extensions doubles as one of the more interesting run of transactions in recent NFL history. For the second time, he has agreed to a Patriots extension ahead of a season in which he will not participate.

The Patriots are signing McMillan to another extension, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deal will be worth up to $2.25MM. It comes more than two months after McMillan suffered a season-ending injury during the Pats’ offseason workouts. McMillan went down with a partially torn Achilles in May.

[RELATED: Patriots Extend LB Ja’Whuan Bentley]

This agreement emerges two years after a similar pact. McMillan suffered a torn ACL during the Pats’ 2021 training camp, but the team still extended him for the 2022 season — via a one-year, $1.27MM deal agreed to in late September of that year. The Patriots-McMillan partnership can be classified as strange, with the team giving the veteran linebacker two contracts after major injuries. But this ensures the Pats are not planning an injury settlement with the former Dolphins draftee. He will be in the picture to return for the 2024 Pats iteration.

McMillan, 27, bounced back from his 2021 ACL tear to play 16 games for the Patriots last season. He operated more as a special-teamer than defensive regular, playing 64% of New England’s ST snaps and 250 total defensive plays. The Ohio State product made 35 tackles (five for loss) and returned a fumble for a score.

McMillan previously worked as a Dolphins starter over the first two seasons of his career, but the Raiders acquired him via trade in 2020. After a season as a part-time Las Vegas starter, McMillan signed a one-year, $1.15MM accord with the Patriots in 2021. He has since agreed to two more Pats pacts.

It cannot exactly be considered a lock McMillan is with the team in 2024. He has now suffered two ACL tears and this partially torn Achilles as a pro. The first of those ACL setbacks occurred during McMillan’s rookie year. The former second-round pick will exit 2023 having missed three full seasons during his seven-year career. But Monday’s agreement ensures the team will give the veteran defender another opportunity.

Patriots Place LB Raekwon McMillan On IR

Raekwon McMillan‘s 2023 season has ended before it even started. The Patriots announced earlier today that they’ve placed the linebacker on injured reserve. Jeff Howe and Chad Graff of The Athletic report that McMillan suffered a partially torn Achilles during practice.

This is a tough break for McMillan, who re-signed with the Patriots earlier this offseason. The former second-round pick got into 16 games (one start) for New England in 2022, finishing with 35 tackles, a sack, and a fumble return for a touchdown. The 27-year-old previously started 28 games across the 2018 and 2019 seasons for the Dolphins, including a rookie campaign where he had 105 tackles.

The Patriots haven’t done a whole lot this offseason to address their hole at off-ball linebacker. As Graff points out, the team now only has three players with any experience for those spots: Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai, and Mack Wilson. Third-round rookie Marte Mapu could potentially fill McMillan’s spot on the depth chart, but Graff writes that the college safety projects to be more of a nickel than a linebacker in the NFL.

Players who are placed on the injured reserve during the offseason can’t be activated by their team during the regular season, meaning McMillan’s 2023 is effectively over. New England could later release the linebacker with an injury settlement, allowing him to sign elsewhere. Considering the length of McMillan’s impending recovery, it’s more likely he sits on the Patriots IR for the rest of the season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/10/23

Today’s minor moves around the NFL:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Waived: DB Carlins Platel

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

  • Signed: T Drew Himmelman


Bailey has been the punter for the Patriots since the team drafted him in the fifth round in 2019. He spent some time on injured reserve this past season and looked ready to return before being suspended by the team in response to missed rehabilitation appointments. In Bailey’s absence, New England relied on former Panther Michael Palardy for the rest of the season. With Palardy set to hit free agency, the Patriots will need to figure out who will be flipping the field for them next year.

Gray has been a standout special teamer for the Saints, earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2021. His new contract will be his largest yet, a three-year, $9.6MM deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The deal includes $4MM guaranteed, $2.4MM at signing, and has annual playing time incentives that could pay up to $500,000 per season. The first year’s base salary of $1.1MM is fully guaranteed for injury, followed by second- and third-year base salaries of $2.5MM and $2.6MM, respectively. The new contract has an potential maximum value of $11.1MM.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/26/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions, including a handful of notable names landing on the physically unable to perform list and the non-football injury list as teams open up camp:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

  • Released with NFI designation: WR Cody Core

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Patriots Place Five Players On PUP

The Patriots placed a long list of players on the physically unable to perform list today. Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Twitter, New England placed center David Andrews, cornerback Jonathan Jones, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, safety Jabrill Peppers, and running back James White on PUP. The players are able to return to practice at any time, but they’ll be watching from the sideline until they’re officially activated.

Jones is still rehabbing a shoulder injury that limited him to only six games in 2021, while Andrews is recovering from his own shoulder surgery. White was limited to only three games last season thanks to a hip issue, and it sounds like the injury is lingering into this year’s training camp. Peppers and McMillan are both returning from ACL injuries.

White is one of the most veteran players on the Patriots roster, and in an ideal world, the running back would serve as a pass-catching safety blanket for Mac Jones. Between the 2016 and 2019 campaign, White averaged 68.8 catches and 950 yards from scrimmage per season. Now 30, this injury could spell the beginning of the end for White, and with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson requiring carries (plus rookie fourth-round pick Pierre Strong Jr.), it’s hard to really see a role for White even if he’s healthy.

Andrews is also one of the longest-tenured Patriots players, having appeared in 89 games across seven seasons with the organization (including a 2019 campaign that he missed due to a pulmonary embolism). Despite the 2021 season being Andrews’ age-30 season, he still proved he was one of the best centers in the NFL, with Pro Football Focus ranking him fifth among 39 eligible centers.

McMillan joined the Patriots last offseason, but he tore his ACL in August and missed the entire season. Peppers, a former first-round pick, spent the past three seasons with the Giants. He collected 29 tackles and one sack in six games before suffering a torn ACL in October. Jones has spent his entire six-year career in New England, starting 27 games (including 21 starts between 2018 and 2020). He collected 20 tackles and three passes defended in six games last season.

Latest On Patriots’ LB Competition

Inside linebacker has been the source of plenty of roster turnover this offseason in New England. The team has seen a number of veterans depart recently, leaving them with much uncertainty amongst their current options at the position. 

The losses of Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy left the Patriots with a significant number of snaps to fill in the middle of their defense. That made LB as a position many expected would be a draft target for New England; however, they elected not to add rookies with any of their selections, and even declined to sign any UDFAs to add competition for roster spots.

[RELATED: Patriots Open To Hightower Return?]

As a result, the team is using the offseason to re-order its new depth chart at the position. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that Raekwon McMillan has been one of the “top” linebackers in practice, taking starter’s reps alongside Ja’Whaun Bentley. The former signed with New England after brief stints with the Dolphins and Raiders. A torn ACL – already the second of his career – prevented him from seeing the field this past campaign. New England still extended him, though, paving the way for what could be a significant role in 2022.

Other linebackers slated for notable playing time include Mack Wilson, whom the Patriots acquired in a trade with the Browns during the early stages of free agency. He has rotated amongst McMillan and Bentley, seeing time with Josh Uche. Where the latter (a 2020 second-rounder drafted as a pass-rusher) lines up will remain a key storyline into the summer. Reiss notes that Uche’s precise fit in the LB corps “looks like a moving target,” given his usage in spring practices.

A veteran addition would come as little surprise at this point, given New England’s lack of known commodities at linebacker. If they elect to maintain the status quo, however, the position could provide one of the most intriguing training camp competitions on the roster.

Patriots Rumors: Injury Updates, Zappe, Perkins

The Patriots released some practice photos recently and, according to Zack Cox of NESN, some of the pictures seem to indicate the much anticipated returns of several previously-injured Patriots. These players included running back James White, cornerback Jonathan Jones, tight end Dalton Keene, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, and linebacker Anfernee Jennings.

White suffered a hip injury last year that required surgery serious enough to end his season and leave him bedridden for months. He hasn’t been fully cleared to return, but seeing him active on the field bodes well for his recovery.

Jones had surgery to repair his shoulder in October and missed the remainder of the season in recovery. McMillan tore his ACL before the season started, but impressed in his limited time before the injury. Keene and Jennings were both placed on injured reserve in August and missed the entire season as a result.

Here are a few other rumors from New England:

  • New England turned some heads on Day 3 of the Draft when they selected quarterback Bailey Zappe in the fourth round. At a point in the Draft where some teams normally address their positional needs, the Patriots selected a quarterback in the first draft after rookie passer Mac Jones led them to the playoffs. For an explanation, ESPN’s Mike Reiss pointed to a discussion with analysts Todd McShay and Louis Riddick, in which they cover “how it can be good business to draft and develop quarterbacks.” He also quotes former NFL general manger Randy Mueller who applauded the pick, saying that he would rather draft for value over need at that point in the Draft.
  • After not appearing in any regular season games last season, second-year Patriots outside linebacker Ronnie Perkins is ready to take the next step, according to Reiss. Perkins was buried on the depth chart behind Kyle Van Noy, now with the Chargers, and Jamie Collins, now a free agent. The departure of Van Noy and Collins leaves a hole opposite Pro Bowl pass rusher Matt Judon and Reiss reports that New England coaches are confident Perkins is getting ready to step up.

Latest On Patriots’ Offseason Priorities

The post-Tom Brady era in New England has seen plenty of change both in terms of players and coaching personnel. As ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes, the Patriots have a number of important decisions to make on their roster, leaving them with a relatively clearly-defined list of positional priorities. 

Reiss lists inside linebacker, cornerback and wide receiver – in that order – as the three positions that should be the primary focus this offseason. The incumbent starters at the first on that list, Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley, are pending free agents, while Raekwon McMillan is coming off of a torn ACL. The position is the one on defense where the overall need to get younger and faster is perhaps the greatest, so youth could very well be preferred to experience there.

The same could hold true at cornerback, where the team likely faces its most important decision. J.C. Jackson is a pending free agent, and could be in line for a large payday. In the last two seasons, the 26-year-old has totalled 17 interceptions and 37 pass breakups. In coverage, he hasn’t allowed a completion percentage above 59% or a passer rating over 66.5 in his four years with New England. His play after Stephon Gilmore was traded to Carolina proved his value to the Patriots, or any number of free agent suitors.

The Patriots may be well positioned to replace the Pro Bowler, or add some vital depth behind him if he is retained, via the draft. As Reiss notes, cornerback is considered one of the strongest positions in this year’s class, so an impactful addition could be made in April. The team will likely be looking to do the same with their wide receivers.

The signings of Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne have added experience and depth to the Patriots’ pass-catching core, but, as Reiss writes, the addition of a true No. 1 “would be ideal”. New England was reportedly close to signing Odell Beckham Jr. before he ultimately went to L.A.; adding someone of his caliber, along with increased production from 2021 free agent signing tight end Jonnu Smith would go a long way in quarterback Mac Jones‘ development. Pending restricted free agent Jakobi Meyers, meanwhile, is likely to receive an extension, or at least a second-round tender, according to Reiss.

With plenty of questions surrounding the team’s coaching staff – and, to a lesser extent, the front office – the moves New England makes with their free agents will dictate much of their success in attempting to return to Super Bowl contention.

AFC East Notes: Maye, Bills, Dolphins, Pats

Playing on the franchise tag, Marcus Maye continues to be viewed as on the way out for the Jets. Whether his exit will come via deadline trade or in free agency next year remains to be seen, but Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes there is interest in the fifth-year safety ahead of the Nov. 2 deadline. While Maye’s $10.6MM franchise tag salary is prohibitive, he is a fifth-year starter who could be an impact rental player. A team acquiring Maye also would allow for exclusive negotiating rights between season’s end and free agency, though Maye giving the 2022 market a try after being tagged would make sense. Maye said last week he has not requested a trade, but contentious negotiations with the Jets did not produce a summer deal. And Maye’s DUI arrest may only further distance him from the Jets, whom he did not inform about the arrest for months after the fact.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Going into the 2021 free agency period, the Dolphins‘ regret from their 2020 spending spree influenced a quieter tour through this year’s market, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The pandemic-reduced salary cap impacted Miami, like it did all teams, but the Dolphins spent just $25.4MM in guarantees this year. They allocated $147.2MM in total contracts in 2020, and the results helped lead the team to its 1-6 place. Byron Jones has not lived up to his then-record deal, and the Dolphins moved on from Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy and Ereck Flowers after one season.
  • Bills defensive ends Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes have been discussed as trade targets around the league, per Graziano. Buffalo has done well to bolster its defensive line, and Addison and Hughes are 30-somethings in contract years. That said, it is difficult to see the Bills parting with either given their status as Super Bowl contenders. Hughes, 33, has started every game for Buffalo this year — his eighth as a Bills first-stringer — while first-rounder Gregory Rousseau has displaced Addison as a starter. Addison, 34, and Hughes have combined for just 1.5 sacks, but each certainly helps Buffalo with D-line depth.
  • The contract the Patriots gave ex-Lions second-rounder Jahlani Tavai runs through the 2022 season, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss, who writes the ex-Day 2 pick is likely being evaluated for a bigger role next season. The Patriots have Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Jamie Collins on expiring contracts, giving Tavai a chance to grow from a seldom-used defender to a more prominent player in 2022. Tavai is set to make just $965K next year.
  • The extension the Patriots gave ex-Dolphins starter Raekwon McMillan calls for a $1MM base salary in 2022, per Reiss, who adds the Pats included $300K in playing-time incentives for the rehabbing linebacker. McMillan tore an ACL early in Pats camp but will have a shot to make next year’s team. The Pats included a $50K roster bonus for McMillan, if he remains with the team March 22.

Patriots Extend LB Raekwon McMillan

Raekwon McMillan won’t see the field this season, but the Patriots linebacker still got a deal for next year. New England has signed McMillan to a one-year extension, keeping the player with the team through at least the 2022 campaign, per ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).

McMillan joined the Patriots this offseason, and it sounded like he was going to carve out a role on the team’s defense (per ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Twitter). However, he suffered a torn ACL during training camp that knocked him out of action for the entire 2021 season. The 25-year-old will still have a year to pick up the team’s playbook, and he’ll be able to compete for a spot on next year’s roster.

McMillan was a second-round pick back in 2017, but his rookie season was wiped out thanks to a torn ACL. He was relatively productive in two healthy seasons with the Dolphins, collecting 177 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.

He was traded to the Raiders prior to the 2020 season, and he finished his lone season in Vegas with 27 tackles and one forced fumble in 16 games (four starts).