FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots have reached a four-year agreement with former Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, a source confirms to ESPN. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Guy is a powerful player at the point of attack who has primarily been an early-down option but has shown up at times with his interior pass rush.
Terms: Four years, maximum value of $20 million
ESPN 150 ranking: Unranked
Grade: C+ -- The Patriots went off the board with their agreement with Guy, who wasn't even ranked in ESPN's top 150 free agents and isn't a household name across the NFL. But he was on the Patriots' radar for a few reasons: He plays with good power at the line of scrimmage, is strong against the run, and has some flexibility to play different techniques (5-technique in a 3-4, rushing from an interior position in passing situations, etc.). Players like former Patriots Ty Warren, Bobby Hamilton and Anthony Pleasant come to mind when making a comparison to what Guy could potentially bring to the team. It isn't necessarily flashy, but for those who believe football games are won on the line of scrimmage, teams need guys like Guy. A deal that averages $5 million per season seems a bit rich, so the fine print of the contract will be important in assessing the value of this signing for the Patriots.
What it means: The Patriots are a flexible defense in the sense that they will morph their scheme into different things on a week-to-week basis. When the agreement with Guy was first finalized, the first thought was, "Could the Patriots be considering going back to more of a pure 3-4?" This gives them another piece to consider that, but nothing is ever that black and white with the team's plans. It's all about having a variety of pieces. This could take the team out of the mix to sign veteran Jared Odrick, who has a similar playing style as Guy; Odrick visited the team last week.
More on Guy: With longer arms and a powerful playing style, Guy projects as a rotational player who will also be part of the team's field goal block team, where he showed up for the Ravens in September. He has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia, which, according to the Baltimore Sun, wasn't diagnosed until he was 19 as a student at Arizona State. He has overcome that to carve out a productive NFL career. Guy entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft choice by the Green Bay Packers. An Arizona State alum, he turns 27 on March 17 and is coming off a season in which he started a career-high 10 games and totaled 28 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. He has played for the Colts (2012-13), Chargers (2013-14) and Ravens (2014-16). The Ravens have invested in some younger linemen, which made Guy expendable. Sixteen of Guy's 19 career starts came in 2015 and 2016.