New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 07: JuJu Smith-Schuster #9 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball at Allegiant Stadium on January 07, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

When NFL teams sign free agents, the value of the contracts are almost always initially reported as being ‘up to’ a certain dollar amount. That initial number often draws a big reaction, even though it’s highly unlikely the player actually ends up making that much money.

That was the case with a number of contracts the Patriots signed last week. As the details come in though it’s becoming clear just how much those players – especially those on the offensive side of the ball – will have to do to maximize those contracts.

  • For the Patriots’ offensive signings to max out their deal – or in some cases even come close – they’ll have to make significant impacts. In reaching those levels of production, they’d go a long way towards improving the team’s offense over last year.

    We’ll start with the team’s biggest signing in wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. His three-year, $25.5 million contract includes up to $7.5 million total in statistics-based incentives (not including things like roster bonuses, workout bonuses, etc).

    According to Doug Kyed of AtoZ Sports, who shared most of these contract details, in 2023 Smith-Schuster has a chance to earn an additional $1.5 million on top of his base salary based on receiving yard benchmarks. If he reaches 950 receiving yards, he’ll get an extra $750K. There’s another $750K available on top of that if he goes over the 1,100-yard mark, something he’s only done once before in his career (2018).

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  • The bonuses increase for Smith-Schuster in both 2024 and 2025. In each of those years, he has a $1 million bonus for going over 800 yards, and then again at 950 yards and 1,100 yards. If Smith-Schuster maxes out those bonuses, it should be more than worth the additional $2.75 million total it’ll cost the Patriots.

    For tight end Mike Gesicki, his bonuses are tied to both catches and receiving yards. He’ll get a $300K bump every time he hits one of the following benchmarks – 40, 50, 60, and 70 catches, and 450, 550, 650, and 750 receiving yards. That totals out to a potential $2.4 million. Gesicki also has an additional $2.1 million available in playing time incentives (based on the percentage of the team’s total offensive snaps he plays).

    James Robinson also has a similar bonus structure based on rushing yards. His $400K bonus will kick in at 450, 600, 800, 1,000, and 1,200 rushing yards for a potential total of $4 million.

  • On the offensive line, things work a little differently. Their bonuses are solely based on playing time, but that means the players have to be playing well enough to stay in the lineup to earn them.

    For right tackle Riley Reiff, he has $4 million available in staggered bonuses. The bonus structure starts with him playing 53 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, which would earn him $800K. There’s then a $750K bonus at 60 percent, $700K bonus at 65 percent, $650K bonus at 70 percent, $600K bonus at 75 percent, and finally $500K at 80 percent.

    Left tackle Calvin Anderson can earn some serious bonus money over the course of his two-year, $7 million deal. Currently projected as a backup, if he can crack the starting lineup he can add over $6 million. He has $1 million bonuses for 60, 80, and 90 percent playing time in each of the next two seasons.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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