In what has been a busy day for the New England Patriots, yet another important depth piece was signed to a long-term extension. Long snapper Joe Cardona, member of both the Patriots and the Navy, received a four-year extension, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. 2018 would have been the final year of Cardona’s rookie contract.
The Patriots and long snapper Joe Cardona have reached agreement on a four-year extension, per a source. Cardona was entering the final year of his contract in 2018.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) June 14, 2018
Cardona spent the duration of his collegiate career with the Naval Academy, serving as the teams long snapper. Despite playing an often overlooked position, Cardona actually received a decent amount of interest during the NFL scouting combine. Cardona reportedly had one of the fastest snaps in the history of the NFL, and his elite snapping grabbed the attention of NFL scouts.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who has a long history with Navy football, is arguably the biggest proponent of special teams in the entire NFL. So when Cardona was available in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Belichick pulled the trigger. Cardona became just the fourth long snapper ever selected in the NFL Draft, and the second-highest drafted behind only Ryan Pontbriand.
The rest, as they say, is history. Cardona’s initial naval assignment was delayed until after his rookie season, such that he could partake in the 2015 league year. Cardona needed to request permission from the navy to play in the NFL in each of the previous two seasons, and each year the request has been granted. Clearly, Belichick isn’t worried about the Navy revoking his NFL playing rights.
Cardona has experienced a solid amount of success in his three-year NFL career. Despite his relatively young tenure in the NFL, Cardona has already played in three AFC Championship Games and two Super Bowls. Cardona earned his first championship ring in Super Bowl LI when the Patriots rallied to erase a 28-3 lead against the Atlanta Falcons.
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