July 15, 2024

Patriots sign former Lions LB Jahlani Tavai to three-year deal after 2023 breakout, per report

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have made a habit of rewarding internal talent this offseason, and that trend continued Tuesday, with the team signing outside linebacker Jahlani Tavai to a three-year contract extension worth up to $21 million, as ESPN reported.

Tavai, 27, has emerged as a regular on New England’s defense the last two seasons, ranking second in total tackles (110) in 2023. While the base value of his new deal is $15 million, per ESPN, he’ll average roughly top-15 off-ball linebacker money if he reaches his incentives.

The Hawaii native enjoyed a breakout in 2023 with five tackles for loss, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Originally a second-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 2019, Tavai spent the first two seasons of his NFL career in Motor City, logging 16 combined starts, primarily at middle linebacker. He signed to the Patriots’ practice squad in 2021 and emerged as a staple of the linebacker corps the following year.

Tavai is expected to see time at both outside and inside linebacker, as well as on special teams, under new head coach Jerod Mayo. He’s just the latest in a growing list of incumbent starters to cash in with new deals this offseason, after running back Rhamondre Stevenson, center David Andrews, defensive lineman Christian Barmore and safety Kyle Dugger.