While the New England Patriots under head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick have earned a reputation for running a tight financial ship, they have also regularly shown in the past that they are willing to invest in their talent. This does not just come in the form of signing players to record-breaking deals — just ask Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork or Logan Mankins — but also their handling of contract incentives.
The latest example for the latter is defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, who had his pact adapted today in order to make it easier for him to earn its full value. ESPN’s Field Yates was the first to report the move:
The Patriots increased the salary of DT Lawrence Guy by $200k for this season, while also increasing his per-game roster bonuses by $700K, per source. Two of his play-time incentives totaling $900K were removed.
Guy can still make $5M this season; the path is more achievable.
Entering the final season of his contract, Guy is now scheduled to earn a salary of $3.1 million in 2020 as well as fully-guaranteed $1.37 million signing bonus prorations and $1.4 million in additional bonus money. Originally on New England’s books with a salary cap hit of $5.37 million this year, the restructure moves Guy’s number to $5.87 million — leaving the Patriots with $30.72 million in available cap space, according to Miguel Benzan.
Guy originally joined the organization three years ago, when he signed a four-year, $20 million free agency pact. He went on to appear in 48 regular season contests and seven playoff games for the Patriots, and established himself as a core member of their defense: not only did he earn a Super Bowl ring to cap the 2018 season, he also was named to New England’s Team of the 2010s — quite a career arc for a former seventh-round draft pick.
The 30-year-old is of course a lock to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster this year, while being projected to again see prominent action as the defensive line’s leader and elder statesmen. The main questions heading into his 10th overall year in the league are therefore if Guy can a) keep up his high level of play despite likely seeing a hefty workload again, and b) earn himself a new contract before being scheduled to enter unrestricted free agency next March.