The Patriots guaranteed that at least one contract-year player will be locked up before he can hit free agency, signing right tackle Marcus Cannon to a five-year extension Tuesday, according to an ESPN report.
The contract is worth $32.5 million overall with $14.5 million guaranteed, NFL Network reported.
Cannon has started 10 games this season, being in on 89 percent of the Patriots’ offensive snaps. The 2011 fifth-rounder took a step forward in his development over the offseason, dropping to his lowest playing weight and regaining the tutelage of line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who has helped him use his long arms better, particularly in pass protection.
“I think the improvement that we’ve noticed really has been this year,” Scarnecchia told reporters during the team’s bye week. “We asked him to play a different way and to do things differently. He’s such a good guy, and really tries to play that way, and I think he’s made great strides. I honestly think he has.
“I think he’s improved over the course of this season, and that’s all you can ask from any player.”
Cannon is in the final year of a three-year, $9 million contract with a base salary of $3.4 million this season. He would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.
Jacoby Brissett has been around the Patriots — in the locker room before and after practice, on the sidelines in Buffalo, San Francisco, and New York — more than the average player on injured reserve. The Globe’s Ben Volin reported that the Patriots plan to activate the rookie this week, and while Bill Belichick wouldn’t confirm that Tuesday morning, he didn’t deny it either.
“It is a possibility,” said the coach.
Each team can bring back one player per season from IR as long as the player has missed six weeks. The player can return to the active roster two weeks after that, though the Patriots obviously hope their plans with Brissett don’t involve using him in games.
“Once you start the clock, when the clock ends, you either have to obviously activate him or put him out for the year,” said Belichick. “So the question is really, A.) When is he ready? and, B.) Do you want to start it?”
Brissett took over for Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 2 against the Dolphins and started in Week 3 against the Texans, injuring his thumb when Houston’s Vince Wilfork landed awkwardly on him. He played through the injury for the rest of that game and in Week 4 against the Bills, and was put on IR following surgery in Week 5.
Belichick has said that, because Brissett plays quarterback, it’s particularly beneficial to have the rookie hang around the team as much as possible.
Having Brissett back would give the Patriots another option in practice, particularly if Tom Brady needs to take it down a notch to give his body a break, and it would allow Belichick to get a better look at what he has in Brissett before having to make a decision about Garoppolo’s future.
Tebow paid price
Former quarterback Tim Tebow revealed in the opening chapter of his new book that while he was trying out for the Patriots in 2013, he was told by Belichick to turn down a $1 million endorsement deal. Tebow honored Belichick’s wish.
Two months later, he was released by the team.
From Tebow’s book, “Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms:”
“I remembered when I had signed with the team in June. Then I’d had an offer on the table to make a one-day appearance endorsing a product for a million-dollar paycheck. I’m sure you’d agree that a million bucks is a lot to make in just twenty-four hours. But I wasn’t quick to say yes.
“When I came on the team, Coach and I had a long and deep talk. ‘I want to make you one of the guys,’ he told me. ‘This is not going to be a media circus. I’ll control it if you do your part. You’re part of a team, Timmy. We’re in this together.’
“So when the offer for the one-day commercial turned up, I was sure to discuss the opportunity with him. ‘I want to know what you think, Coach,’ I said. ‘I respect you and I want to fit in. I want to be one of the guys. Should I do it?’
“He thought for a moment and then shook his head. ‘Timmy, I would really appreciate it if you didn’t.’
In that same chapter, Tebow discussed the meeting he had with Belichick and Josh McDaniels when they informed him of the decision to cut him, describing it as a sucker punch, while also acknowledging he had played poorly in the preseason.
Belichick shared some of his thoughts on Darius Kilgo, the defensive tackle claimed off waivers from Denver Monday. The coach called Kilgo “a big kid that’s pretty athletic, a hard-working kid, has a good work ethic, good intangibles. We did some work on him coming out of the draft, and we look forward to working with him. It gives us another person at that position that I felt like we needed from a depth standpoint.” Kilgo was a sixth-round draft pick of the Broncos in 2015 and has played in 18 games over the past two seasons. He was released Nov. 25 . . . The Patriots re-signed tight end Kennard Backman to the practice squad. Backman had previously been on the practice squad from Nov. 12 to Nov. 15.