As opposed to years past, the New England Patriots were major players during the NFL’s 2017 free agency period. But while the acquisition of cornerback Stephon Gilmore and the trade for wide receiver Brandin Cooks took most of the headlines, the signing of defensive tackle Lawrence Guy to a four-year, $20 million contract also was a big move for the Patriots.
In his first year in New England, Guy established himself as a starter along the interior defensive line and as a productive player against both the pass and the run. Overall, he finished the season with 72 tackles - seven of which for loss -, 2.0 sacks and five quarterback hits, all while playing 54.8% of defensive snaps. This percentage is now the reason why the Patriots opted to slightly alter Guy’s contract.
As first reported by Ian Whetstone, New England added a $500,000 renegotiation bonus to the deal after Guy narrowly missed out on a playing time incentive of the same value: The 27-year old needed to play 55.0% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps in 2017 to trigger the clause but ultimately came up a few snaps short. But while he missed out on the bonus money, the team still decided to reward him as if he hit it.
The move is not a first for the Patriots. In 2014, as ESPN’s Mike Reiss points out in his Sunday NFL notes, the team readjusted incentives in offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer’s contract to make it easier for him to earn a playing time incentive.