Since playing their last meaningful game, the Patriots have lost left tackle Nate Solder to and rookie offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn to In danger of losing starting right guard Shaq Mason in free agency after the season, the Patriots finally provided Tom Brady with some stability up front by making sure Mason won't be leaving anytime soon.
According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Herbie Teope, the Patriots gave Mason a five-year, $50 million extension on Monday. Of that $50 million, $23.5 is guaranteed, Teope reports.
Patriots signed G Shaq Mason to a 5-year, $50 million contract extension with $23.5 million guaranteed, source tells @MikeGarafolo and me. Mason, who will earn close to $30 million over first three years of new deal, now among highest-paid guards in NFL. Key OL piece staying put.— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) August 27, 2018
For the sake of comparison, consider that. Mason isn't as dominant of an inside blocking force as Martin, but he's developed into a very capable run blocker.
"Shaq has done a good job for us from the time he got here," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, per ESPN. "He came from an [option-based] offense that was quite different from ours and he adapted quickly. He did a real good job of learning new techniques. He's an athletic player and has good strength, good balance, an excellent run-blocker. He can pull, run and hit."
Drafted in the fourth round in 2015, Mason has played in 46 games with 41 starts over the past three seasons. In 2016, he was one of Pro Football Focus' most-improved second-year guards. Last season, he graded out like a top-10 guard.
ESPN's Mike Reiss reported that the extension was tacked onto the final year of his rookie deal, which means he's under contract through the 2023 season. While the Patriots might have issues on the exterior of their offensive line after the departure of Solder and the injury to Wynn, the interior of their line has a chance to develop into a real strength of the team. Reiss pointed out that center David Andrews is under contract through the 2020 season and left guard Joe Thuney is under contract through 2019, giving the Patriots some much-needed stability up front.
Just as important, it's one less impending free agent for them to worry about.