Ben Volin of the Boston Globe has a great article up taking a look at a number of key Patriots’ players who will need new contracts in the coming years. Here are some notes from a few players worth keeping an eye on over the next year:
- Volin writes that the Patriots are likely hoping LB Jamie Collins is so eager for a big payday that he’ll agree to a below-market contract just to put some cash in his pocket now.
- However, Volin believes Collins could best Buccaneers OLB Lavonte David‘s five-year, $50.25 million deal and the record $14 million guaranteed paid to Bruce Irvin by the Raiders this offseason.
- According to Volin, if Collins is set on maximizing his earning potential in his next contract, there’s a good chance it won’t be with the Patriots.
- While CB Malcolm Butler is deserving of a pay raise, Volin mentions that it’s unlikely any team will be willing to sign him to a massive deal as a restricted free agent next year and part with a first-round pick in the process.
- Volin wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots waited until next summer before even broaching the subject of an extension for Butler.
- As a free agent, Volin seems to think Butler could command a similar contract to the one Janoris Jenkins signed with the Giants, which included $28.8 million guaranteed.
- With the Patriots trading Chandler Jones to the Cardinals several months ago, Volin mentions that re-signing DE Jabaal Sheard is now a much bigger priority for New England.
- If Sheard ends up putting together an impressive 2016 season, Volin says there’s at least a chance he could be in the same conversation as the notable edge rushers who have landed big deals or will sign them like Olivier Vernon and Von Miller.
- Volin expects the Patriots to try to lock Sheard up to a more reasonable deal early in the season.
- Volin mentions that Collins is the more physically gifted linebacker in need of a new contract. However, Dont’a Hightower checks a number of boxes for the team in terms of leadership and both run and pass defense.
- According to Volin, the Patriots would probably like to get an extension in place with Hightower early in the year, as this would reduce his $7.751 million cap figure and give them more flexibility.