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Patriots make Shaq Mason one of NFL’s highest-paid guards

New England Patriots 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Vito Babe Parilli

Having lost both Cameron Fleming and Nate Solder during free agency, the New England Patriots’ depth a long the offensive line will be tested once Week 1 comes calling.

Fortunately, New England made the wise decision to lock up young guard Shaq Mason on a lucrative long-term deal. According to various reports, the Patriots have signed the 24-year-old standout to a five-year, $50 million extension with $23.5 million guaranteed.

The deal makes Mason one of NFL’s highest-paid guards.

A fourth-round pick of the Patriots back in 2015, Mason has started 41 games over the past three seasons. He turned in a Pro Bowl-level 2017 season and is seen as one of the best young interior linemen in the game.

It’s a move New England needed to make, as Mason was set to hit free agency following the 2018 season. Given the Pats’ unwillingness to pay their own free agents this past March, that likely would have led to Mason departing for greener pastures.