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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Patriots special teams takes hit as Gunner Olszewski signs with Steelers

FOXBOROUGH, MA – JANUARY 03: Gunner Olszewski #80 of the New England Patriots carries the ball during the third quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on January 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Former All-Pro punt returner Gunner Olszewski is the latest former Patriots player to be on the move in free agency. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday afternoon that the Steelers are signing the 25-year-old wide receiver to a two-year, $4.2 million contract.

As an restricted free agent, the Patriots had a chance to retain Olszewski earlier this offseason. However, they elected not to apply a tender to him, which would have cost them $2.4 million in 2022. He became an unrestricted free agent when the new league year began on Wednesday.

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Olszewski joined the Patriots in 2018 as a UDFA and converted cornerback out of Division-II Bemidji State. After missing most of his rookie season due to injury, he set a franchise record of 17.3 yards per punt return in 2020 in his All-Pro season. He contributed mainly on special teams last year, playing just six percent of the Patriots’ offensive snaps.

The Patriots have now lost two key members of last year’s special teams unit in Olszewski and Brandon Bolden, who signed with the Raiders earlier this week. A third, Brandon King, remains a free agent. They’ve retained gunner Matthew Slater and kicker Nick Folk.

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NFL Free Agent Tracker: Friday, March 18

NFL Free Agent Tracker: Thursday, March 17

NFL Free Agent Tracker: Wednesday, March 16

NFL Free Agent Tracker: Tuesday, March 15

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected],

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