How the Pats have handled their former 1s

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The Patriots have had 10 first-round picks since 2000, and inevitably
what happens with those guys — if they pan out, as most of Bill
Belichick’s “1s” have — is decisions have to made on whether they
deserve to get that big-money contract in their mid-to-late 20s.

And so here they are at that crossroads with Vince Wilfork, with both sides hoping to get something done long-term. How have these things played out in the past?

Thanks for asking …

2001
Pick: Richard Seymour (6th overall)
Second Contract: Four years, $30 million, signed in 2006
Final Result: The Patriots dealt Richard Seymour to the Raiders for a first-round pick before the final year of his second contract in New England.

2002
Pick: Daniel Graham (21st overall)
Second Contract: N/A
Final Result: After developing into a devastating blocker, but a less than overwhelming receiver, the Patriots set Graham free in 2007 and he signed a five-year, $30 million deal ($15 million guaranteed) with his hometown Broncos. He’s been a similar player in Denver: A starter and valuable piece as a blocker who’s limited catching the ball.

2003
Pick: Ty Warren (13th overall)
Second Contract: Five years, $35 million ($18 million) guaranteed, signed in 2007
Final Result: Warren left money on the table to get long-term security earlier in his career, signing this extension that carries him through 2013 with two years left on his rookie deal. It’s worth noting he’s since fired agent Vann McElroy and gone with Wilfork’s agent, Kennard McGuire.


2004
Pick: Vince Wilfork (21st overall)
Second Contract: N/A
Final Result: We’ve been over this one plenty.

2004
Pick: Benjamin Watson (32nd overall)
Second Contract: N/A
Final Result: Watson had to fire his agent, Tom Condon, before his rookie year even began because Condon refused to sign off on a six-year deal for the final pick in the first round. Watson just switched agents again, going from Pat Dye to Drew Rosenhaus, and is unlikely to return to New England in 2010.

2005
Pick: Logan Mankins (32nd overall)
Second Contract: N/A
Final Result: Mankins deal is up, and he’ll likely get the high tender: $3.268 million. That will assign first- and third-round pick compensation to any offer sheet he considers, which really means he won’t have many offer sheets to consider at all. The Patriots, in essence, control this player’s rights.

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2006
Pick: Laurence Maroney (21st overall)
Contract Expires in: 2010
Notes: Let’s say that it’d be fairly surprising if he were to enter 2010 with a new contract.

2007
Pick: Brandon Meriweather (24th overall)
Contract Expires in: 2011
Final Result: If a new CBA is struck, and he becomes more consistent in 2010, his contract status should be a big topic next offseason.

2008
Pick: Jerod Mayo (10th overall)
Contract Expires in: 2012
Final Result: Nothing to worry about here, yet, though Patrick Willis is likely to reset the market for middle linebacker deals at some point soon. Willis has two years left on his rookie deal.

… So as of right now, just two first-round picks in this era of Patriot football have made it to the coveted Contract No. 2.

Really, the Patriots have only had to make decisions to this point on three guys: Seymour, Warren and Graham, so their percentage there isn’t bad. But it does reflect how the club generally stays away from extending guys’ deals earlier in the game, a method that teams like the Steelers, Colts and Chargers have employed with their core players.

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