By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Details have been reported on four of the Patriots’ newest free-agent signings. Here’s what we know for now.
Three of the new faces are first-timers in New England. The fourth is the returning Brandon Bolden, who spent a season with the Miami Dolphins and figures to go right back to his previous role as a special teams mainstay and depth running back.
They also signed former Jets & Packers defensive tackle Mike Pennel, former Broncos tight end Matt LaCosse, wide receivers Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris, and former Jets special teamer Terrence Brooks. The team officially announced all of them on Friday.
More details are known on Pennel, LaCosse, and Ellington. The rest remain unknown as of Monday morning. Here’s what has been reported so far on the Patriots’ new additions.
RB Brandon Bolden
2 years, $4.7 million
Mike Reiss of ESPN reported the full details of Bolden’s new contract with the Patriots on Friday. He gets a $1 million signing bonus and a fully guaranteed $1 million base salary in 2019 and $1.3 million in 2020. He gets $200,000 in per-game roster bonuses (avg. $12,500) and $500,000 in incentives in both seasons. Bolden will almost certainly make the Patriots’ 53-man roster in the first season with $2 million guaranteed, then we’ll see how it goes from there for the returning special teams cornerstone and locker room leader.
DT Mike Pennel
According to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal, Pennel’s deal with the Patriots is for two years. That’s all we know publicly for now, but it’s an indication that it could be an Adrian Clayborn-type deal. Expect Pennel to get all of his guaranteed money in 2019 and the Pats to treat 2020 essentially like an option year. The 27-year-old has a chance to upgrade the run defense over the departed Malcom Brown. His 87.1 run defense grade on Pro Football Focus ranked 12th in the NFL, better than Ndamukong Suh and Fletcher Cox.
TE Matt LaCosse
2 years, $3.8 million
Mike Reiss had the full details on Friday. LaCosse gets $500,000 guaranteed, comprised of a $300k signing bonus and $200k of his $700k salary in 2019. In 2020, his salary bumps to $1 million. He also gets $400,000 in per-game roster bonuses (avg. $25,000) and $500,000 in incentives in both years. It’s a decent-sized guarantee for a signing that felt like a flyer when it happened. The 26-year-old will have a legit shot at making the roster, especially if Rob Gronkowski retires.
WR Bruce Ellington
1 year, $895,000
Ellington gets a $25,000 signing bonus as part of his deal, per Mike Reiss. His base salary is set at $805,000, and he has a $25,000 workout bonus worked in as well as a $40,000 roster bonus that kicks in if he makes the 53-man roster. The structure of this deal – presumably only the $25k signing bonus is guaranteed – indicates that the Patriots view Ellington as a mere lottery ticket at the slot receiver position. The big question is whether he can stay healthy. But if he can, he has a chance to fit well in the Pats offense as a solid backup to Julian Edelman in the slot.
Details aren’t known yet about the Harris or Brooks signings. But it’s likely that Harris got a similar prove-it deal to Ellington’s. Brooks is almost strictly a special-teamer (392 ST snaps in 2018, compared to 69 on defense) so he’s not likely to have more than a 1-or-2-year pact.
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.