The New England Patriots dominated the headlines in free agency due to their unprecedented spending spree, but while their aggressiveness in attacking the holes on the roster stood out it was not the only notable aspect of the last two weeks. The team, after all, was also able to retain some of its most valuable players on cost-effective deals.
After already retaining Cam Newton and David Andrews, among others, they also brought back fellow captains James White and Lawrence Guy earlier this week. And as the recently reported contract details show, they will both be playing on pretty cheap contracts as well.
RB James White: One year, $2.46 million
- Salary: $2.325 million
- Signing bonus: $137,500
- Cap number: $1.21 million (2021)
James White’s deal is falling under a new provision that was introduced as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed into effect last year. It is counted as a so-called Four-Year Player Qualifying Contract, which should help veteran players find spots on rosters. Basically, it means that only $1.075 million of White’s salary actually is counted against the Patriots’ cap this year. The rest, meanwhile, is considered a benefit. As a result, his salary cap number this year is only $1.213 million.
DT Lawrence Guy: Four years, $11.5 million
- Salary: $7.075 million
- Signing bonus: $1 million
- Roster bonuses: $3.4 million
- Cap numbers: $1.75 million (2021), $3.25 million (2022), $3.25 million (2023), $3.25 million (2024)
Lawrence Guy’s contract is more straight-forward than White’s, but it does include some additional provisions. His $1.075 million salary in 2021 is fully guaranteed, for example, while half of his 2022 salary of $2 million will become guaranteed as well if he is on the Patriots’ roster on the third day of the next league year. Furthermore, Guy can earn up to $5.5 million in incentives over the duration of his contract, including $2 million just this year alone. The total maximum value of his deal is therefore $24 million.
As was the case with the aforementioned Cam Newton and David Andrews, the Patriots were also able to keep Lawrence Guy and James White on comparatively cheap contracts. The two veterans will count less than $3 million versus New England’s cap this year — ranking 33rd and 40th on the team’s current roster. This is obviously a bargain for the organization, and one that helped the Patriots stay financially flexible despite their status as some of the most experienced and well-respected players on the team.