While the New England Patriots lost some big names in the offseason, they also have some players returning.
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New England’s offensive line in particular suffered some big losses. Shaq Mason was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ted Karras signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent.
But the Patriots also brought back Trent Brown who will likely be protecting Mac Jones’ blindside. Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger believes that this was the best move that New England made in the offseason.
“Brown’s return on a team-friendly deal has some added value with the continuity he provides,” Spielberger stated. “Brown earned career-best 78.7 overall grade and 81.2 pass-blocking grade in 2021, and the Patriots’ AFC East foes will now line up with edge defenders Von Miller, Melvin Ingram III and Carl Lawson in addition to several young pass-rushers each has drafted in recent years.
“Last but certainly not least, Brown has the ability to play both tackle spots, and his two-year deal extending beyond left tackle Isaiah Wynn’s fifth-year option season in 2022 is not a coincidence. Brown can slide over in the event of an injury and adds leverage in negotiations with the former first-rounder entering a contract year.”
How is Brown Preparing for the 2022 season?
Brown returned to the Patriots with a challenge ahead of him. A clause in his new contract was focused on him losing and maintaining his weight. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Brown’s contract has a $750,000 weight bonus in both 2022 and 2023. Reiss reports that being under 385 pounds on the first day of the offseason program pays Brown $150,000, under 375 on June 1 nets him $75,000, under 365 on July 15 pays $75,000, and staying under 365 at a weigh-in every Thursday during the season is an additional $25,000 each week.
Appearing on the Pat McAfee Show in June, Brown talked about the weight clause in his current contract.
“For sure. I’ve gotta get this money,” Brown joked. “(But) not even just for the money part, but just longevity and extending my career and just accepting the challenge of being great for myself, my family, my team, and my (offensive line) room. And being able to lead properly in my offensive line room. You can’t lead if you’re not doing everything that you can do to be in on the field week in and week out.”
How Important Will the Offensive Line Be in 2022?
The Patriots will need Brown and the offensive line to perform well this upcoming season.
Jones is entering a crucial second season where he will look to take the next step in his NFL career. He will look to prove that his rookie performance wasn’t a fluke and that he is the real deal.
Also, New England won’t be able to rely on their defense as much as they did in 2021. With the departure of J.C. Jackson, the Patriots can’t rely on their defense to bail them out.
So the signing of Brown was a major deal for New England especially since he is tasked with keeping Jones upright and giving him plenty of time to throw the ball.