The New England Patriots are solidifying their offensive line depth ahead of the start of free agency.
The Patriots and veteran offensive lineman James Ferentz agreed to a one-year deal Thursday morning, per multiple reports. Ferentz’s contract is worth $1.215 million but only $200,000 of it is guaranteed with a $50,000 signing bonus.
Ferentz, who turns 34 in June, has had multiple stints with the Patriots since 2017, getting released on several occasions before returning to the team on the practice squad or on the active roster a few times.
Via Aaron Wilson:
“Patriots offensive lineman James Ferentz signed a one-year, $1.215 million extension. Includes $50,000 signing bonus, $200,000 total guaranteed, $150,000 of $1.165 million base salary guaranteed, $30,000 in incentives. Salary cap figure $1.02 million under veteran salary benefit.”
Last season, Ferentz made his way back into the active roster early in the regular season after being cut during training camp. He ended up starting in three games as well, filling in for David Andrews at center on multiple occasions when he suffered a concussion and a thigh injury in the middle of the season.
Ferentz brought fine play as a backup player, allowing two sacks and four pressures while playing in parts of eight games at center, left guard, right guard, and left tackle. Pro Football Focus gave Ferentz a solid pass-blocking grade (74.5), but a poor run-blocking grade (43.8) for his play in 2022. The 789 snaps Ferentz played in 2022 were the most in his nine-year career, which began with the Houston Texans in 2014 before he signed with the Denver Broncos in 2015.
The Patriots’ agreement with Ferentz is the second one they have reached with an offensive lineman this offseason. In February, they agreed to a one-year deal with offensive tackle Conor McDermott, who joined the team in November this past season and started the final six games at right tackle.
New England also re-signed special teams captain Matthew Slater, who’s their longest-tenured player.
The Patriots are still projected to have a good deal of cap space open entering the offseason. They roughly have $32 million in cap space available following the Ferentz re-signing, according to cap guru Miguel Benzan, which is the sixth-most in the league.
NFL Free Agency will unofficially open on Monday, March 13th at noon ET with the legal tampering period and teams can officially sign players on Wednesday, March 15th.