1) Jerod Mayo will be a Patriot for 2015... Mayo was potential trade piece, but the new contract consists of $4.5 million fully guaranteed, with an extra $1.5 million in likely play time incentives. Due to the guaranteed money, Mayo will stick around.
2) ...But he might be gone in 2016. The structure of the deal includes a two-year option after the 2015 season, so if Mayo doesn't recover fully from his injury, the Patriots can part ways without penalty.
3) Mayo is now in play for 2017 compensatory picks. If the Patriots don't pick up Mayo's option, and he signs with another team for the 2016 season, then the Patriots would be able to receive a compensatory pick for his contract.
4) For now, he's a hedge on Dont'a Hightower... The Patriots top linebacker will be recovering from off-season surgery and isn't expected to return until late August, or early September. Factor in an extra month of kicking off the rust, and having a player like Mayo will help smooth over any adjustment period for Hightower.
5) ...But might become a casualty for Jamie Collins. The Patriots other top linebacker is due for a contract extension at the end of the 2015 season, and with the rise of the nickel defense, New England might not be able to pay three starting caliber linebackers.
6) The team's leadership will be consistent. While Vince Wilfork has departed for a more BBQ-flavored pasture, the Patriots will still have their leadership of Devin McCourty and Mayo in tact. Look for defensive end Rob Ninkovich to receive the nod as the third defensive captain, as he was an interim captain when both Wilfork and Mayo were hurt in 2013.
7) Chya Mayo will still be knockin' it out of the park... This is probably the most important factor. Lil' Mayo is the best thing that's happened to football in the past twenty years.
8) ...Because the Family sticks together. The Mayos used to have an open door policy where Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater, Jamie Collins, and Rob Ninkovich would just drop by to say hello. These make-up an incredibly important nucleus of the Patriots roster. Mayo is the glue and his leadership goes beyond his playcalling on the field.
9) There will be more cap space for players... Jerod Mayo was slated to be the second largest cap hit on the roster with a $10.3 million figure. His prior contract means he's on the hook for $3.6 million in dead cap space, and the structure of his new deal could place his cap hit at roughly $5 million, or half of what it was before. The Patriots need to extend Super Nate Solder, Dont'a Hightower, and Chandler Jones, and this cap space will certainly help.
10) ...While the option leaves the door open for the future. While signs point to the Patriots potentially parting ways with Mayo after this season, the key difference between Mayo's and Wilfork's situations is their age. Mayo is 29, while Wilfork is 33. Linebackers can play well into their 30s, so the Patriots option would be for Mayo's 30th and 31st seasons. Pending Mayo's recovery, there is still a chance for Mayo to become a Patriots lifer.