The Miami Dolphins announced the signing of free agent punter Jake Bailey on Friday. The addition fills a void on the team’s roster, with former punter Thomas Morstead signing with the New York Jets as a free agent.
Bailey was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He played in every game in his first three seasons, including earning First-Team All-Pro and Pro-Bowl selections in 2020, but he was limited to just nine games last season due to a back injury before the Patriots suspended him for the last two games of the year for an unknown reason. The Patriots released him last week.
Bailey filed a grievance against the Patriots for the suspension. “While Jake Bailey was on IR he never missed a single treatment, meeting, or practice,” Bailey’s agent Doug Hendrickson said in a statement. “He was hoping to come off IR to play, but Jake was informed he was being suspended these last two games. This comes as a surprise given his full participation during injury reserve. We have filed a grievance to fight this unknown suspension.”
Last season, Bailey averaged 42.1 yards per punt, the lowest average of his career. In his 2020 All-Pro season, he was averaging 48.7 yards per punt and 47.3 yards in 2021. His career average is 45.9 yards per punt.
Bailey also worked as the team’s kickoff specialist, resulting in a touchback on 54.9 percent of his career kicks. He recorded a touchback on 60.9 percent of his kicks last year.