The New England Patriots’ quest to quickly lock up their entire 10-member draft class continues. After signing second-round linebacker Josh Uche on Wednesday and adding five more players on Thursday — linebackers Anfernee Jennings and Cassh Maluia, offensive linemen Justin Herron and Dustin Woodard, and kicker Justin Rohrwasser — the Patriots also signed tight end Devin Asiasi on Friday. Now, another player can get added to the list of signings.
As first reported by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, guard Michael Onwenu has agreed to sign his rookie deal with the Patriots. Onwenu was drafted by the team with the 182nd overall selection after it decided to trade up the board to get the Michigan product — one that is expected to compete for a backup role along New England’s interior offensive line behind starting guards Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason as well as center David Andrews.
While Onwenu’s frame — he was measured at 6-foot-2 1/2, 344 pounds at the scouting combine — stands out, he also has the play strength to go along with it: the 22-year-old is impressive at the point of attack and brings a physical edge to the position. His overall athleticism may not be too impressive, but he has an impressive foundation to build upon and also brings considerable experience and durability to the table.
In accordance with the NFL’s rookie wage scale, which was introduced as part of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, Onwenu has been signed to four-year contracts. Per Over The Cap, the deal will be worth a total of $3.5 million with a 2020 salary cap hit of $660,617. As opposed to higher-drafted members of the Patriots’ rookie class, Onwenu will therefore currently not count against the team’s books due to the top-51 rule being in place.
With Onwenu now in the fold, only two rookies remain unaccounted for at the moment: second-round safety Kyle Dugger and third-round tight end Dalton Keene are the lone members of New England’s draft class not to sign deals just yet. That said, the expectation is that both of them will soon sign their rookie contracts with the Patriots as well.