NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday morning that New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo will agree to a pay cut to remain with the team. Mayo will now have a fully-guaranteed base salary of $4.5 million for 2015—down from $6.25 million—with a chance to earn $6 million this year with incentives. The Patriots also added option years on his contract for 2016 and 2017.
#Patriots & captain Jerod Mayo agreed on a 1-year deal for $4.5M fully guaranteed. Chance to make $6M, source said. Then 2 option years.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 22, 2015
Mayo, the Patriots’ 2008 first-round draft pick, is entering his eighth year with the team. He has a career total of 756 combined tackles, 10 sacks, eight forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, three interceptions and 18 passes defensed. He has the rare ability to be a three-down linebacker and work in all aspects of defense. The only problem has been his health over the last two seasons.
In both 2013 and 2014, his seasons have been cut short by injury, coincidentally in Week 6 of each year. In 2013, he was placed on injured reserve for a torn pectoral muscle; in 2014, it was for a torn patellar tendon in his knee. But when healthy, Mayo has proven to be one of the more effective and versatile linebackers in the league.
The pay cut reflects the Patriots interest in protecting themselves financially should Mayo suffer another injury this year as well as Mayo’s desire to remain with the team. Mayo does have the capacity to play himself back into a stable situation with the Patriots, thanks to the structure of the re-worked contract.
It’s assumed that Mayo has Week 6 of the 2015 circled in red on his calendar. If he can make it past that cursed date, he may just have the dominant season he was once known for.