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What Shaq Masonís 5-year extension means for Tom
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liny195 is offline 

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Brady and the Patriots The New England Patriots locked up right guard Shaq Mason to a 5-year extension worth up to $50 million on Monday
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, locking up the teamís youngest starting lineman and solidifying the right side of the offensive line for what should be the remainder of quarterback Tom Bradyís career.Mason turns 25 years old tomorrow (what a great birthday gift- that Bill Belichick is so thoughtful) and is four months younger than left tackle Trent Brown, 9 months younger than left guard Joe Thuney, and nearly two years younger than center David Andrews. Mason is arguably the best offensive lineman on the Patriots and heís still (theoretically) a couple years away from entering his prime.Mason joins Andrews (2021 UFA) and 30-year-old right tackle Marcus Cannon (2022 UFA) as the long-term projected starters, while Thuney (2020 UFA) is still one year away from being eligible for an extension of his own. Brown is a free agent after this season, so the Patriots could decide whether to extend him or move forward with rookie first round pick Isaiah Wynn- who is going to spend his rookie season on the injured reserve.I have to wonder if Wynnís season-ending injury played any role in Masonís extension. While Wynn wasnít necessarily in the running to replace Mason- Wynn had practiced at left guard and both tackle positions- his injury could have sparked an interest in Mason to get a deal done before the wear-and-tear of the regular season. And on the other hand, I wonder if Wynnís injury took some of the leverage away from the team because they could no longer point to their first round pick as a potential replacement.When looking across offensive line positions, Mason is easily the most valuable of the offensive linemen and itís great to see the team reward his upside with a big contract as Mason will now be the highest-paid of the Patriots offensive line. The deal is for ďup to $50 millionĒ so Iím curious to see the incentive structure. I would be shocked if Mason agreed to a deal that required him to make an All Pro team to get his money, but the Patriots have been signing players to ďgame-day incentiveĒ deals so Mason would likely have to remain healthy for all 16 games to get the maximum amount. The reason I would be shocked if Mason needed to hit any incentive beyond game day activity is that even at the maximum $10 million per year Mason would be considered a bargain. The $10 million would tie him with the Steelersí David DeCastro and and the Bearsí Kyle Long for the ninth-highest paid interior lineman in the league. Both DeCastro and Long signed their deals in 2016, which makes Masonís deal an even greater relative bargain.Multiple interior linemen have signed for much greater amounts over the past two years, capped off with Cowboys guard Zack Martin signing a $14 million per year deal and Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell signing $13.3 million per year deal this offseason. So for Mason, who is in the tier below these All Pros, to sign for up to $10 million per year is a complete steal.Mason will join Andrews and Cannon in locking down the right side of the offensive line for the remainder of Bradyís career and their combined ability to be stellar run blockers and pass protectors will grant the aging quarterback some peace of mind in the pocket.New England Patriots 2018 roster breakdown: #74 OG Cole Croston The New England Patriots currently have 89 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on September 1 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the offseason
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, we take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.Today, the series continues with one of New Englandís offensive linemen.Name: Cole CrostonPosition: Guard / Offensive tackleJersey number: 74Opening day age: 24Experience: 1Size: 6í5, 310 lbs.2017 review: Coming off an inconsistent senior year that was dominated by injuries, Cole Croston went unselected during the 2017 draft. However, it did not long for the Iowa product to find a home in the NFL as the Patriots signed him to a free agent contract shortly afterwards. And while he entered New England as a long shot to make the team, Croston quickly established himself as a player to keep an eye on.Following a solid training camp, the rookie saw plenty of snaps during preseason: playing at both guard and offensive tackle, Croston was on the field for 78.0% of New Englandís offensive snaps (223 of 286). He appeared to be back at full strength while adapting well to life in the pros. And even though he played primarily against second and third string defenders, Croston did enough to earn a roster spot.The versatile offensive lineman spent all of 2017 on the Patriotsí 53-man squad. And even though he saw only limited action Ė Croston was active for three games and played a combined eight offensive snaps Ė, he was still able keep his roster spot. Furthermore, he also earned practice player of the week honors twice. All in all, his rookie campaign can therefore be seen as a successful one.2018 preview: Up until yesterday, Croston was probably on the outside looking in when it came to roster spot. After all
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, he had a rather quiet training camp while the team used equally versatile and higher-upside first-round rookie Isaiah Wynn as a primary backup option along the offensive line. With Wynn tearing his Achilles, however, Croston may have just received a push up the Patriotsí depth chart Ė and potentially onto the 53-man roster.In order to make the team for a second straight year, however, the second-year man needs to get back onto the field soon: Croston did not play a single snap during Thursdayís preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles, despite no reported injury slowing him down. If the 24-year old does not return to the lineup quickly with Wynn out, his tenure on New Englandís active squad might soon come to an end.Unless he is indeed dealing with some undisclosed injury, though, it would be a surprise if Croston did not receive another shot with Wynn out for the year and starting right tackle Marcus Cannon fighting his way back from injury. Whether it comes in the form of a roster or practice squad spot remains to be seen. But as things stand today, the chances of Croston remaining on New Englandís pay roll in some capacity appear to be solid.
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What Shaq Masonís 5-year extension means for Tom
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