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NFL free agency 2023: Calvin Anderson’s contract essentially makes him a roster lock this season

Anderson signed a two-year pact with the Patriots last week.

Philadelphia Eagles v Denver Broncos Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have invested in their offensive tackle group this free agency. Not only did they place the original third-round tender on restricted free agent Yodny Cajuste, they also signed a pair of players from the open market: Calvin Anderson and Riley Reiff.

Reiff’s contract very much makes him a lock to be on the team in 2023, and possibly even start. As for Anderson, he is in a similar position after signing a two-year, $7 million contract to return to the team that gave him his NFL start back in 2019.

A look at how the pact is structured shows that Anderson should be expected to be on the Patriots’ roster this season.

Calvin Anderson: Contract details

Base salary: $1.08 million (fully guaranteed)
Signing bonus proration: $845,000
Roster bonus: $680,000
Workout bonus: $200,000
Salary cap hit: $2.685 million

Base salary: $2.3 million (incl. $1.23 million guaranteed)
Signing bonus proration: $845,000
Roster bonus: $850,000
Workout bonus: $200,000
Salary cap hit: $4.195 million

Split between his salary and signing bonus, the Patriots gave Anderson $4 million in guarantees: all of his 2023 salary plus more than half of his 2024 salary are guaranteed, as is the entirety of his $1.69 million signing bonus. As a consequence, releasing him this season makes little fiscal sense.

If, for example, New England would decide to part ways with him during roster cutdowns, the club would take on a $3.155 million dead money charge and as a result actually lose $470,000 in cap space. Stranger things have happened, of course, but the Patriots seem committed to Anderson as a member of their offensive tackle group in 2023.

As for 2024, the still relatively sizable guarantees ($2.075 million) also give him a good shot at making the team — as does the fact that he is one of only three offensive tackles actually signed for that season. However, the other two (Conor McDermott, Andrew Stueber) are relatively easy to release should the team choose so.

What all of this shows is that the Patriots apparently think highly of Anderson, not just as a stop-gap solution at the position but a potential No. 3 with starter-level upside. He is, at least, being paid as such.