According to the NFL Network, the Patriots barely dodged an opt-out bullet with longtime special teams captain Matthew Slater.

The 34-year-old strongly considered sitting out the 2020 season — following Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung among others — but ultimately chose to play one of the final years of his career.

“It was a tough decision, but I will be playing,” Slater said via the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Slater made his second All-Pro team and eighth Pro Bowl last season. According to Garafolo, Slater’s exit could have created a domino effect within the team’s locker room, as he would have been the second team captain to have opted out in the span of two days.

— Boston Herald