Ja’Whaun Bentley

Contract Details On Recent Patriots Deals

Since the Patriots agreed to a three-year extension with wide receiver DeVante Parker at the end of June, we have seen a number of reports offering details on that deal. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe is the latest to weigh in.

It seems clear that the contract is worth a maximum of $33MM. We heard when the signing was first reported that $14MM of that figure is comprised of guarantees and per-game roster bonuses, and Volin notes that only $9.1MM is actually guaranteed (Twitter link). With an additional $4.59MM available in per-game roster bonuses, the total due between those two contractual components is $13.69MM, so just shy of the number included in the initial report.

The base value of the deal, including guarantees, per-game roster bonuses, and salary, is $17.1MM. That leaves $15.9MM available in incentives, all of which are classified as not likely to be earned for cap purposes and include benchmarks for playing time, receptions, and yardage (this jibes with a recent report from ESPN’s Field Yates, who noted that Parker could earn up to $14.7MM in statistical incentives and $1.2MM in All-Pro incentives).

Volin adds (via Twitter) that Parker’s cap numbers over the three years of the deal are $3.69MM, $6.57MM, and $6.57MM. It is a fairly low-risk transaction from New England’s perspective, and it does not impact the club’s pursuit of free agent wideout DeAndre Hopkins (in fact, because of Parker’s reduced 2023 cap charge, it could actually help the Pats in that regard). We heard earlier today that the Titans have been more aggressive than the Patriots in the Hopkins derby to date, but New England certainly remains in the running.

One day after the Parker re-up, the Patriots finalized a new contract with linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley. Bentley landed a two-year extension, which was tacked onto the end of his previous deal and which keeps him under club control through 2025. Volin reports (via Twitter) that, when viewed as a three-year accord, Bentley’s contract is worth a base amount of $16.15MM and includes $1.7MM in incentives (so the maximum value is about $1MM less than the $18.75MM that was initially reported).

Volin confirmed that Bentley landed $9MM in fully-guaranteed money. Ultimately, Bentley will realize a $4.5MM raise for 2023 and will be well-positioned to remain on the roster for at least the 2024 campaign. Given the tepid market for most off-ball linebackers, Bentley may have been wise in sacrificing the chance to hit the open market next year in exchange for additional security.

Patriots To Extend LB Ja’Whaun Bentley

For a second straight day, the Patriots agreed to terms on an extension with one of their veteran contributors. Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley is signing a two-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Following DeVante Parker‘s three-year re-up, Bentley will sign a deal that can max out at $18.75MM. The sixth-year defender will collect $9MM fully guaranteed. This is Bentley’s third Patriots contract.

Bentley, 26, has been a regular Pats starter for the past three seasons. The Purdue alum agreed to terms on a two-year, $6MM deal during free agency in 2022. Considering the guarantee here, Bentley will secure a nice payout compared to his previous pact. The new deal will tie Bentley to the Patriots through the 2025 season.

This is an interesting decision from Bentley, who was going into a contract year. The former fifth-round pick could have pursued a more lucrative pact as a 2024 free agent, but this year’s market was not particularly fruitful for off-ball linebackers. Beyond the monster deal given to Tremaine Edmunds ($18MM per year) and the Giants’ Bobby Okereke pact ($10MM AAV), a host of contracts in the $5-7MM-per-year range came to pass. Bentley’s guarantee puts him at the top of that mix of recently signed ILB vets.

Thursday’s agreement also could represent solid value for the Patriots. Pro Football Focus tabbed Bentley as a top-10 off-ball ‘backer in 2022. Last season, Bentley started all 17 Pats games and made a career-high 125 tackles. He added three sacks and six quarterback hits, notching an interception as well. New England keeping its post-Dont’a Hightower linebacking anchor will bring good continuity on a perennially stout defense.

Like Parker’s accord, Bentley’s may create 2023 cap space as well. The Pats had Bentley tied to a $5.1MM cap hit this year. Spreading bonus money out would free up some funds. The Patriots’ Parker agreement will not lead to them standing down re: DeAndre Hopkins. Veteran NFL reporter Mike Giardi tweets that the Bentley extension will indeed give New England more spending power for the immediate future.

The Patriots were relatively quiet with respect to additions at linebacker spot this offseason. Veteran Chris Board was signed, though he is best known for his work on special teams rather than defense. Further depth was added during the draft with Marte Mapu, who has seen time both at LB as well as safety so far. Regardless of how the team chooses to align its options at the second level of the defense, Bentley will be a mainstay there for years to come.

Patriots Expected To Re-Sign Ja’Whaun Bentley

Ja’Whaun Bentley is back in New England. The linebacker is on the verge of a brand new deal to remain with the Patriots (Twitter link via Field Yates and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com). 

[RELATED: Patriots To Sign Montgomery]

Bentley recorded 108 tackles last year to lead all Patriots defenders. There was little doubt that the Pats wanted him to return for 2022, but there was also concern that he had played his way out of town.

The 25-year-old had clearly outperformed his rookie deal, a paltry four-year, $2.8MM contract for his fifth-round slot. Meanwhile, the Patriots have cut Kyle Van Noy and they could potentially lose Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins to free agency.

Bentley will be joined by new faces in the LB group, including the recently acquired Mack Wilson. There should be plenty more moves on the way, too, regardless of how things shake out with the Pats’ veteran free agents.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/29/21

Several key players returned to practice Wednesday. Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Rico Bussey

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Patriots Notes: Running backs, Allen, Bentley

The Patriots currently have a unique situation. The team is currently carrying just two running backs after they released Kenjon Barner to make room for Julian Edelman on the 53-man roster. The team cut Mike Gillislee and Brandon Bolden right before the season, and Jeremy Hill went down with a season ending knee injury early on. Then Rex Burkhead got placed on injured reserve with a neck injury, leaving them extremely thin in the backfield.

They’re down to only receiving specialist James White and rookie Sony Michel, and they will likely add outside help soon according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. Reiss writes “the team can’t expect to get by with just two running backs” and that it’s possible either Barner or Gillislee are brought back in the coming days. Undrafted rookie Ralph Webb is also on the team’s practice squad and could be called up.

Here’s more from New England:

  • There’s been a lot of media speculation about Dwayne Allen‘s roster spot the past couple of years, but Allen isn’t going anywhere Reiss writes. Reiss notes that Belichick “places a high value on his blocking and team-first approach” and that his roster spot is safe. Allen makes a lot of money for a blocking specialist, with an average salary of over $5MM, but it sounds like he’s in the Patriots’ longterm plans.
  • Reiss has details on the injury that landed rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley on injured reserve. It’s a torn biceps according to Reiss, and Bentley has already undergone surgery and is rehabbing with the team. The fifth round pick had shown a lot of promise before going down a couple of weeks ago.
  • In case you missed it, yesterday the Patriots waived their 2016 second round pick cornerback Cyrus Jones.

Patriots To Place RB Rex Burhhead On IR

The Patriots will place running back Rex Burkhead on injured reserve with a neck injury, according to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The Pats will also place rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley on IR with an unknown ailment. To fill Bentley’s place on the roster, the Pats have signed outside linebacker John Simon, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets

Burkhead, 28, had to be cleared from concussion protocol prior to the Patriots’ Week 3 game against the Lions. Unfortuantely, he was forced out of that game with a neck injury, putting the rest of his season in jeopardy. It’s currently unknown whether Burkhead is a candidate to return from IR later this year or if this is a definite season-ender.

In three games, Burkhead failed to get going on the ground with 24 rushes for 86 yards. Last year, he averaged 4.1 yards per carry in a limited sample.

Burkhead’s injury should mean a larger workload for rookie Sony Michel and more carries for James WhiteKenjon Barner is back in the fold, so the club may opt to stand pat with those three active running backs plus fullback James Develin.

Bentley, meanwhile, is the just the latest Patriots 2018 draft pick to be placed on IR this season, joining first round tackle/guard Isaiah Wynn, second-round cornerback, sixth-round wide receiver Braxton Berrios, and others.

Simon spent one season with the Colts, but in their new 4-3 defense, he was not viewed as an ideal fit. He spent the prior five seasons of his career with 3-4 teams — the Ravens and Texans — and has worked in a starting role for the past three years.