Patriots sign defensive lineman Lawrence Guy to a four-year deal
The Patriots continued adding pieces in free agency on Saturday, agreeing to a four-year deal with veteran defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, according to a league source. The deal is reportedly worth as much as $20 million, though the structure and guarantees are not yet known.
Guy, who is 6 feet 4 inches and 305 pounds, has the strength and athleticism to play several spots along the defensive line, though he is more of a rotational piece and special teams player. Guy had one sack for the Ravens last year, playing 487 snaps on defense (46.51 percent) plus 123 snaps on special teams (26.74 percent).
Guy, who turns 27 on Friday, has 6.5 sacks in five NFL seasons, though 5.5 have come the last two years in Baltimore (4.5 in 2015). He was originally a seventh-round draft pick out of Arizona State by the Packers in 2011, and bounced to the Colts and Chargers before finally settling in with the Ravens in 2014.
The Patriots have subtracted Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard from last year’s team, and are replacing them with newly acquired Kony Ealy and Guy, though they may not be done adding players, either in free agency or a deep draft class.
Also on the defensive line for 2017 are Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown, Vincent Valentine, and Alan Branch, who just signed a new two-year deal with the Patriots. Youngsters Geneo Grissom, Woodrow Hamilton, and Darius Kilgo will also battle for roster spots, and linebackers Rob Ninkovich and Shea McClellin can play defensive end as well.
The Patriots decided to move on from tight end Martellus Bennett, but he wasn’t out of a job for long. Bennett signed a three-year deal with the Packers on Friday that came with a $6.3 million signing bonus and will pay him as much as $21 million.
But realistically, Bennett is playing on a one-year, $8 million deal. He will make $8.05 million if he shows up to the offseason program ($250k workout bonus) and plays in all 16 games ($37,500 per game active). But Bennett then has a non-guaranteed $2 million roster bonus on the third day of the 2018 league year that will determine his fate for that season.
Even without long-term security, Bennett still got a nice pay raise. He played for $5.185 million for the Patriots in 2016, and now will play for about $8 million in 2017 with the Packers.
Docking a draft pick
The Patriots still aren’t done with Deflategate, as they forfeit their highest fourth-round draft pick as the last remaining part of their punishment.
When the NFL announced the full draft order last week, the league listed as “forfeited” the Patriots’ pick 4-132, which they acquired last year from Seattle. But the Patriots did have pick 4-137, which they subsequently traded to the Colts for tight end Dwayne Allen on Wednesday.
And as part of the compensation for receiver Brandin Cooks , the Patriots also reportedly received the Saints’ fourth-round pick, 4-118.
An NFL spokesman confirmed Saturday that the Patriots will lose their highest pick. As of now, the Patriots would forfeit 4-118 and regain 4-132. But the Patriots can still trade 4-118 between now and the draft, which would mean they would forfeit 4-132.
It is unclear if the Patriots are able to trade all of their fourth-round picks.