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NFL free agency 2023: Patriots expecting big things from Jabrill Peppers, contract details show

New England re-signed the veteran safety via a two-year contract last week.

NFL: New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots were busy locking up their in-house free agents on the defensive side of the ball last week. Among the seven free agents either re-signed or tendered was safety Jabrill Peppers: the former first-round draft pic, who originally had joined the Patriots on a one-year pact last offseason, signed a new two-year, $9 million contract.

The deal is a nice one for Peppers, after he played all 17 of New England’s games and was on the field for 398 of a possible 1,130 defensive snaps (35.2%). And as a look at its details shows, it is also one that seemingly comes with a lot of expectations from the team:

Jabrill Peppers: Contract details

Base salary: $1.08 million (fully guaranteed)
Signing bonus proration: $1.55 million
Roster bonus: $680,000
Workout bonus: $140,000
Incentives: $1 million
Salary cap hit: $3.45 million

Base salary: $3.18 million (incl. $1.82 million guaranteed)
Signing bonus proration: $1.55 million
Roster bonus: $680,000
Workout bonus: $140,000
Incentives: $1 million
Salary cap hit: $5.55 million

What stands out about Peppers’ new contract with the Patriots is that it includes $6 million in guarantees: his entire salary for the 2023 season is guaranteed, as is more than half of his salary in 2024. In addition, the team gave him a $3.1 million signing bonus.

The distribution of those guarantees over the length of the deal speaks a rather clear language that the team expects Peppers to play out his contract. Adding to this belief is the dead cap in 2024 relative to any potential savings: New England would have to swallow a $3.37 million charge versus “only” $2.18 million in net savings.

All that being said, the Patriots themselves can also feel good about the deal. After all, re-signing Peppers allows them to keep some stability at the safety position even with long-time team captain Devin McCourty now retired.

It remains to be seen how exactly New England will replace McCourty in 2023, but Peppers will be part of the solution — something the ex-Patriot himself pointed out in a recent social media post

“I think they have a chance to be better,” he wrote. “Everyone knew where I was going to be. With this group no one knows who will be where.”

Regardless of where Peppers will end up being in the lineup, it would not be a surprise to see him make a bigger impact than he had in 2022. Coming off a season-ending ACL tear suffered during his final season with the New York Giants, he registered 52 tackles and recovered a fumble, while also playing an important role on special teams.

As evidenced by his contract, the Patriots are believers in his potential to build on that foundation.