FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick has been especially candid in his reviews of some Patriots in the early days of training camp, and on Thursday he stuck to the trend.
The Patriots signed defensive tackle Davon Godchaux to a two-year, $20.8 million contract extension Wednesday afternoon. When asked about the move, Belichick did not hold back.
“He’s one of the best defensive linemen in the league,” said Belichick. “Both sides are happy, contract is signed, and go forward.”
The new contract includes a $17.85 million guarantee. Godchaux is entering the final leg of a two-year, $15 million deal that he signed in March 2021.
In his debut season as a Patriot, the 6-foot-3-inch, 311-pound veteran started 16 of the 17 games, recording 65 total tackles and one sack.
How did Godchaux feel about Belichick’s praise? Well, he didn’t disagree.
“I feel like to be a good D-tackle you’ve got to first be able to stop the run,” he said. “No good D-tackle is just going to be a pass rusher. It’s not just me, but I do consider myself one of the best defensive linemen.”
Godchaux joined the Patriots after four seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He was taken in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of LSU but said he knew he “was better than that.”
With his ego on his shoulder, Godchaux worked to become a starter in Miami. He recorded 70 tackles and two sacks in 2019 before a biceps injury derailed his progress.
In 2020, Godchaux played in just five games; the only other year he started in five or fewer was his rookie season.
“Coming off a bicep injury, coming into an organization like this, a lot [was] expected,” Godchaux said. “I want to make sure that I live up to those expectations each and every day.”
Godchaux said New England is the place for him because it “fits everything I do” and the Patriots run a similar system to what he learned in Miami.
“Toughness, stop the run, convert the pass,” he said. “It fits me. I feel like when I first started this was home.”
At 27, he is entering his sixth season as an NFL starter.
“A lot of people look at me like an old guy, but I look at me like I’m still young,” he said. “Just keep the leadership. I’m not really a big rah-rah guy. I’m more leading by example.”
Defensive lineman Christian Barmore smiled as he reflected on Godchaux’s leadership.
“That’s my guy right there, man, he’s really like a big bro,” Barmore said.
Barmore said Godchaux taught him “pass rushing and everything on staying low.”
Godchaux said there’s “still more work to do” and the biggest thing he is taking into this season is growth. He might have come to the practice field Thursday with a little extra money on his horizon, but his work ethic stayed the same.
“Never let the money change me,” he said. “I’m the same person, still have the same hunger each and every day. I’m going to play the same way. It’s not going to change me getting better every day, coming with the same attitude, being the first one in line.
“I’m happy but not satisfied.”
Jayna Bardahl was a Globe intern in 2022. Follow her on Twitter @Jaynabardahl.