FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After making a franchise-record low four picks in the draft, the New England Patriots have spent more aggressively than most (if not all) teams when it comes to undrafted free agents.
This was reflected in the eye-opening contract that Brigham Young linebacker Harvey Langi signed with the team, which includes $100,000 of his base salary guaranteed in addition to a $15,000 signing bonus.
Furthermore, Wyoming tight end Jacob Hollister has agreed to a pact that includes $80,000 of his base salary guaranteed in addition to a $10,000 signing bonus.
For context, the Patriots' top sixth-round draft choice from 2016, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, had a signing bonus of $100,356. Grugier-Hill ultimately didn't make the final 53-man roster.
Langi's guaranteed money, which at this point has easily been the highest total recorded for an undrafted free agent across the NFL in 2017, rates favorably with a fifth-round pick. Hollister's isn't far behind.
Langi, who took a pre-draft visit to the Patriots, had about 12 teams interested in signing him to a contract after the draft. He was projected to be picked in the fourth to fifth round of the draft.
The 6-foot-1 7/8 and 251-pound Langi finished his college career by being named MVP of the Poinsettia Bowl after making 16 tackles.
The Patriots' spending on undrafted free agents is notable not just because of their small draft class, but also because all NFL teams are limited to paying out a total of $98,340 in signing bonus money to undrafted free agents. But by guaranteeing a significant portion of a player's base salary, clubs can be more aggressive in pursuing some desired targets.
So that's what the Patriots have done, with Longi, Hollister, cornerback D.J. Killings and receiver Cody Hollister all receiving significant guarantees, as the club is paying some priority free agents at the same level as a fifth- or sixth-round pick.