The New England Patriots have done a great job of showing commitment and interest to a pair of undrafted rookies. Auburn cornerback Jonathan Jones and Arizona State running back D.J. Foster both received really nice signing bonuses and guaranteed money to join the Patriots, per ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Contract note: Undrafted CB Jonathan Jones received $35,000 guaranteed, which is also a nice number for an undrafted player.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) May 17, 2016
Contract note: Undrafted free agent RB D.J. Foster received $30,000 guaranteed in his 3-year deal. A good number for an undrafted player.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) May 17, 2016
It should be noted that this sort of money does not guarantee a roster spot, but does imply far more than just a passing camp interest.
Late 7th round picks receive guaranteed money in the range of $50,000, per salary cap website Spotrac. 2015 247th overall pick CB Darryl Roberts received $54,223, and 2015 253rd overall pick LB Xzavier Dickson picked up $52,783. 2014 244th overall pick WR Jeremy Gallon signed for $47,592, which happens to be the exact same as 2013 235th overall pick LB Steve Beauharnais.
In general, the Patriots give their lower tier undrafted free agents less guaranteed money. In 2014, only three of the team's original nine undrafted free agents signed for more than $20,000 guaranteed, and only one saw more than $25,000.
Of the undrafted rookies in to impact the Patriots last season, wide receiver Chris Harper led the class with $20,000 guaranteed, and center David Andrews receive $15,000. Special teamer Brandon King only received $3,000. Converted Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner didn't make the team, but he received $15,000 guaranteed, while cornerback Jimmy Jean received $10,000 an defensive tackle Vince Taylor received a mere $2,500.
The rising salary cap will naturally grow the amount of money available for undrafted rookies. Reiss has the guaranteed money for the rest of the 2016 undrafted class here. Vanderbilt tight end Steven Scheu received $25,000 guaranteed, which is the 4th most over the past three seasons. Ole Miss linebacker C.J. Johnson earned a nice $20,000 guaranteed, too.
But it's clear that Jones and Foster are the most well regarded. Foster even acknowledged that the money was part of his decision to come to the Patriots, since New England offered him the most money.
These will be two players to watch out for during camp.
Below is a table of the guaranteed money the Patriots have given to undrafted free agent rookies over the past five seasons. Sources include Spotrac for 2015 data and ESPN for 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016.
|2014||LB Cameron Gordon||$35,000|
|2016||CB Jonathan Jones||$35,000|
|2013||WR T.J. Moe||$30,000|
|2016||RB D.J. Foster||$30,000|
|2012||OL Jeremiah Warren||$28,000|
|2016||TE Steven Scheu||$25,000|
|2014||RB Stephen Houston||$22,500|
|2014||TE Asa Watson||$20,000|
|2015||WR Chris Harper||$20,000|
|2016||LB C.J. Johnson||$20,000|
|2016||CB V'Angelo Bentley||$17,500|
|2016||CB Cre'Von LeBlanc||$17,500|
|2013||TE Zach Sudfeld||$17,000|
|2012||RB Brandon Bolden||$15,000|
|2013||OL Elvis Fisher||$15,000|
|2014||TE Justin Jones||$15,000|
|2015||C David Andrews||$15,000|
|2015||WR Devin Gardner||$15,000|
|2013||OL Josh Kline||$14,000|
|2012||OT Markus Zusevics||$13,000|
|2012||DT Marcus Forston||$10,000|
|2012||ED Justin Francis||$10,000|
|2013||FB Ben Bartholomew||$10,000|
|2013||S Kanorris Davis||$10,000|
|2014||RB Roy Finch||$10,000|
|2014||S Shamiel Gary||$10,000|
|2014||CB Travis Hawkins||$10,000|
|2015||CB Jimmy Jean||$10,000|
|2013||DL Cory Grissom||$8,000|
|2016||DL Woodrow Hamilton||$7,500|
|2013||OL Chris McDonald||$5,000|
|2013||OL Matt Stankiewitch||$5,000|
|2013||WR Kenbrell Thompkins||$5,000|
|2013||P Ryan Allen||$5,000|
|2014||LB Deontae Skinner||$5,000|
|2013||CB Brandon Jones||$3,500|
|2013||TE Brandon Ford||$3,000|
|2015||S Brandon King||$3,000|
|2012||TE Brad Herman||$2,500|
|2012||WR Matt Roark||$2,500|
|2013||CB Stephon Morris||$2,500|
|2015||DT Vince Taylor||$2,500|
|2016||TE Bryce Williams||$2,500|
|2013||LS Mike Zupanic||$2,000|
|2013||DL Dewayne Cherrington||$2,000|
|2014||TE Tyler Beck||$1,500|
|2013||RB Quentin Hines||$1,000|
|2012||OL Jon Opperud||$0|
|2013||LB Ian Sluss||$0|
|2013||DL Joe Vellano||$0|
|2015||CB Eric Patterson||$0|