The New England Patriots and right guard Shaq Mason have agreed to a five-year deal worth up to $50 million. The NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo was first to report the news on Monday.
Herbie Teope of NFL.com added that Mason’s five-year deal includes $23.5 million guaranteed. (UPDATE: ESPN’s Mike Reiss later added that $5 million is tied to incentives. It’s also tacked on to the end of his rookie deal, which means Mason is now signed through 2023.)
His $10 million average earnings make him the seventh-highest guard in the league, behind the Cowboys’ Zack Martin, the Jaguars’ Andrew Norwell, the Browns’ Kevin Zeitler, the Raiders’ Kelechi Osemele, the Panthers’ Trai Turner, and the Raiders’ Gabe Jackson. He’s tied with the Steelers’ David DeCastro and the Bears’ Kyle Long.
The deal solidifies the right side of the Patriots’ offensive line for years to come. David Andrews is signed through 2020. Right tackle Marcus Cannon is locked up through 2021. There’s less certainty on the left side, but left guard Joe Thuney is signed through 2019.
Quick Analysis: Since Mason will barely be a top-10 highest-paid guard – and should slide down the list as the contract goes on – this could almost be viewed as a team-friendly deal for the Patriots to lock up a very good interior lineman. Mason certainly could’ve made more than $10 million annually on the open market, where he may have been the best guard available. He’s already one of the best run-blocking guards in the league, and Bill Belichick is confident that his pass protection will catch up.
You may not like devoting that kind of money to the guard position, but at the same time, the Patriots had nothing viable in the pipeline beyond 2018 at the right guard spot. If Isaiah Wynn can return at full strength and become the left tackle, the Patriots would suddenly have excellent continuity almost completely across the offensive line.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.