Trent Brown brought up an interesting point about his recent contract restructure
Last week, the New England Patriots restructured the contract of starting left tackle Trent Brown. The Patriots added $2 million in incentives to Brown’s existing deal, based on him reaching a certain level of playing time.
This restructure came after Brown reportedly missed time this summer due to him reportedly being unhappy with his contract. Brown is in the final year of a two-year, $13 million deal he signed ahead of free agency in March of 2022.
On Monday afternoon, Brown spoke with Patriots reporters for the first time since the restructure got done. “It was a nice raise, a nice gesture,” Brown said when asked his thoughts on the deal. “It’ll still allow me to be a free agent at the end of the year. I’m appreciative of that. Now it’s time to play ball.”
While it may not impact the 2023 season, Brown expression appreciation that he can still be a free agent after this year seems notable. For one, it sounds as though the Patriots may have wanted to add term to his deal when working on the restructure, just interpreting the wording of Brown seemingly crediting the team after mentioning free agency.
Whether the idea of extra years was broached or not, it sounds like Brown does hope to hit the open market next spring. Asked as a follow-up on Monday if that is in fact his plan, Brown sort of talked around the topic.
“I’m just trying to play football, really,” he said. “I’m controlling what I can control in the meantime, and if God sees fit for me to be elsewhere, then that’s just what it is.”
Even if Brown was still on the roster, tackle projects to be the biggest need for the Patriots this upcoming offseason (the Patriots currently have a revolving door at right tackle, with Vederian Lowe stepping in for Calvin Anderson this past week). If Brown has his eyes on unrestricted free agency, pending him re-signing with the Patriots after the fact, the team could end up needed to add two players at a position that is very costly, whether it be through free agency dollars and/or draft capital.
While that’s a future problem for the Patriots, who are 1-2 and heading into a road game against a tough Dallas Cowboys team, we can briefly look ahead. If worst comes to worst, who are the top tackles available next year? In its list of top 50 pending free agents for 2024, NFL.com only lists two tackles – Jonah Williams of the Bengals (41st) and Tyron Smith of the Cowboys (45th). The draft looks to be a bit stronger, with names like Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, and Alabama’s J.C. Latham at the top of many draft boards.