Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has produced a list of the 11 best bargain and 11 worst value contracts in the NFL, and the New England Patriots were mentioned twice in the "best bargains" section.
Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, due a total earnings of $5 million in 2012, is the first Patriot mentioned:
I know he is getting older, but is he really slowing down? And is anyone more vital on an erratic Pats defense? He is at the core of everything Bill Belichick does toggling from a 3-4 to a 4-3, and he can still be downright dominating in crucial situations. He allows that defense to survive despite having dynamic young pass rushers off the edge, and yes, you have to factor in the $18 million signing bonus he got in 2010, but still he's a bargain to me. The Pats structured the contract well in case the years do catch up to Wilfork, as he has $15 million in cash due to him between 2013-2014 -- manageable for sure.
The other Patriot mentioned is right guard Brian Waters, who has contemplated retirement this offseason, and is due a total of $1.5 million in 2012:
You have to think the Chiefs are kicking themselves for letting him go a year ago. One of the best men in the game and still a strong starting guard for a Super Bowl contender at this stage of his career. The Pats swooped in and signed him late, and he ended up being something of a salvation. And this year, should Waters play at anything close to the level he did in 2011, it's another big victory for the elite franchise. They could bump Waters up a few million based on last year's performance, and he would still be a bargain.
Waters, in particular, stands out as a "bargain." However, at age 35, you'd have to suspect that 2012 will be his final NFL season... and that's assuming he does return to the team. It's also important to note that La Canfora only focuses on players that have been in the league for "at least a few years" and who signed deals under the old CBA. Players such as Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Devin McCourty would all obviously qualify as "bargain deals," but like many other players still on their rookie deals (Gronkowski's extension follows the expiration of his rookie contract), were excluded from La Canfora's list due to the experience factor.