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Patriots Show Belief with Jahlani Tavai Extension

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Wed, 03 Jul 2024, 12:15 PM EDT
Jahlani Tavai Headshot

The Patriots agreed this week to a three-year extension with LB Jahlani Tavai that will pay him at least $15 million and as much as $21 million, according to ESPN. That locks in a starting LB who was set to enter the final season of his existing contract.

What They're Saying

Bernd Buchmasser of Pats Pulpit: "While Tavai’s defensive contributions are a big part of his value to the Patriots, his kicking game role cannot go unmentioned either. Last year, he was on the field for 358 snaps (78.2%) in the game’s third phase and a member of five special teams units. How New England will use him under new coordinator Jeremy Springer remains to be seen, but his experience and versatility — both on defense and special teams — are an asset."

2024 Fantasy Football Impact

Tavai's share of special teams snaps has grown each season of his career, the past three of which he has spent in New England. But his defensive playing time has grown at a more rapid rate.

Tavai went from barely playing on D in 2021 to seeing 50.4% of snaps and starting 12 games in 2022, then jumping to 73.6% as a full-season starter last year.

That 2023 playing time increased over the course of the season as well. Tavai checked in short of 70% in four of the first five games. He topped 70% in each of the final five weeks, including three straight of 79.7% or more to close it out.

He'd be more attractive as a fantasy asset if that grew a little further, but it was enough to push Tavai into low-LB3 territory for balanced IDP scoring last year. He carries a similar outlook into 2024.

Dynasty Impact

The extension clearly helps Tavai's longer-term outlook as well, locking him in with New England through 2027 rather than just this season. He remains a just-OK fantasy option, though.

Rankings Movement

I'll be honest: I wasn't totally comfy when Tavai came out in low-LB3 to high-LB4 range of my initial IDP rankings -- primarily because of the inconsistent playing time. This extension makes it comfier.

Expect Tavai to remain in LB4 range as a tackle-reliant option.

Matt Schauf Author Image
Matt Schauf, Editor
Matt has earned two Fantasy Pros accuracy awards for IDP rankings and won thousands of dollars as a player across best ball, dynasty, and high-stakes fantasy formats. He has been creating fantasy football content for more than 20 years, with work featured by Sporting News, Rotoworld, Athlon, Sirius XM, and others. He's been with Draft Sharks since 2011.
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