Larsen's agent, Noel Lamontagne, told me he's never gotten a deal done this early in the process for a rookie. It started when the agent called the Patriots right after the team's rookie minicamp, at the start of this month, and asked if they'd be willing to try and get things done early. The team was open to the idea.
"Sometimes, teams are not willing to have that conversation yet, because they want to keep the numbers low and stave those off through OTAs," Lamontagne said. "Others want to get it done, and they were interested. I dealt with Floyd Reese primarily, and he was talking with Bill Belichick through the process, and we were all like-minded and found a common ground."
The agent went so far as to call the negotiation an "incredibly enjoyable experience", and recalled how seven years ago, his firm and the Patriots needed until the eve of training camp to finalize then-rookie Dan Koppen's deal.
The numbers on Larsen's deal are fairly straight forward. It's for four years, and worth $1.87 million, with an $80,300 signing bonus. And it calls for base salaries of $320,000 (2010), $405,000 (2011), $490,000 (2012) and $575,000 (2013), with some escalators in the final year mixed in.
As Lamontagne mentioned, lots of teams want to keep their rookies unsigned through the spring, so they can carry more players on the roster. The Patriots, with the Larsen signing, are now permitted to have 91 players on the team (with 11 rookie draft picks unsigned). After Shawn Springs was cut today, they were left carrying 88.