Patriots give Mayo five-year extension
DENVER - The Patriots ensured that linebacker Jerod Mayo won’t be going anywhere any time soon, signing him to a five-year contract extension yesterday that will keep him with the team through 2017, a league source confirmed to the Globe.
As is generally their custom, the Patriots did not release a statement on the deal.
The 10th overall pick out of Tennessee in 2008, Mayo’s rookie contract was not set to expire until after the 2012 season. He’s one of the few players to receive an extension in a noncontract year during Bill Belichick’s tenure.
Almost since the day he arrived in Foxborough, Belichick has lauded Mayo’s on-field smarts, instincts, athletic ability, work ethic, leadership, and consistency. Teammates see Mayo as a younger version of Belichick in terms of his approach to the game.
The last Patriots player to receive a contract extension soon after signing a rookie contract was Ty Warren. The defensive end signed a six-year contract when he was drafted in 2003, and was given a five-year extension in August 2007, though he was released during training camp this year.
Vince Wilfork played through his rookie deal and was briefly tagged as the Patriots’ franchise player in 2010 before he received a five-year deal. Logan Mankins had to wait six seasons and a half-year played under a reduced restricted free agent number before he got a six-year contract this August.
Mayo did not have to wait.
The NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2008 was a first-team All-Pro last year, making his first Pro Bowl after leading the NFL in tackles with 193 (115 solo). He also recorded two sacks, five pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble.
Last week against the Redskins, he sealed the game with his second career interception. Mayo’s first pick came a week earlier against Indianapolis.
Mayo missed two games in October because of a sprained medial collateral ligament. He said Friday that the injury is “getting better,’’ but MCL sprains can only fully heal with rest.
Still just 25 years old, the Virginia native has a team-leading 75 tackles and has been credited with four quarterback hits.
Mayo’s base salary this year is just $600,000; in March 2010, his contract was restructured and he received future salary money in an upfront bonus. Because of that, he still counts just over $5 million against the Patriots’ salary cap this season, according to league documents.
His base salary next year is set to be $750,000, though there is an escalator in his contract that could increase that by as much as $800,000. Mayo will still count just over $5 million against the cap, again because of the prorated bonus money.
The Patriots’ next major contract to address is Wes Welker: The receiver is in the final year of the five-year contract he signed upon his arrival in 2007. He has topped 100 receptions in four seasons here, with a low of 86 last season a mere seven months after undergoing surgery for torn knee ligaments.