Patriots’ rookie linebacker Marte Mapu fined for unnecessary roughness against Dolphins’ wide receiver Jaylen Waddle


Mapu owes the NFL $5,620 for his Sept. 17 helmet-to-helmet hit on Waddle.

Marte Mapu has played a versatile defensive role for the Patriots through his first two weeks in the NFL. Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

The NFL fined Patriots’ linebacker Marte Mapu $5,620 Saturday afternoon for a helmet-to-helmet hit he committed against Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.

The first-year defender was penalized for unnecessary roughness against Waddle during New England’s Week 2 home game against the Dolphins.

The hit occurred late in the fourth quarter when Miami quarterback Tua Tagavailoa targeted Waddle on a second-and-five pass. Another Patriots’ linebacker, Matthew Judon, was covering the receiver and deflected the ball. Mapu tackled Waddle from the right side while the wideout was still in the air and made helmet contact with his head, resulting in a 15-yard unnecessary roughness flag.

Waddle was removed from the game and entered concussion protocol following the hit. After being limited in Dolphins’ practice this week and listed as questionable due to his concussion for Week 3 on Friday, Waddle is ruled out for Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

Head coach Bill Belichick could be seen giving an earful to a referee in expressing his disagreement with the penalty:

His defense didn’t like the flag, either:

Belichick did not bench Mapu following the personal foul call in a game that featured an apparent benching of rookie wide receiver Demario Douglas after committing an early fumble.

The financial sanction against Mapu marks the first handed out to a New England player in 2023. 

The 23-year-old has played both linebacker and safety for the Patriots this season. Mapu played 47 percent of the team’s defensive snaps against the Dolphins.

New England travels to East Rutherford, N.J. to face the New York Jets for a 1:00 p.m. EST kickoff on Sunday.