Agent: 'Patriots stepped up' for Guyton

Linebacker Gary Guyton and the New England Patriots agreed Thursday on a two-year contract that includes a $650,000 signing bonus, according to his agent, who called the move a nice gesture by the team.

Guyton, who played approximately 84 percent of the defensive snaps in 2009, was an exclusive rights free agent. That meant he would be returning to the team in 2010 for a base salary of $470,000.

But the team extended his deal through 2011, giving him the $650,000 signing bonus up front. Given the uncertainty of the labor situation in the NFL, Guyton avoids the possibility of never seeing that money if there is no football in 2011.

"We're extremely pleased that the Patriots stepped up when they didn't have to and rewarded Gary with a contract that reflects how well he has performed on and off the field," said Richard Kopelman, who represents Guyton.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.