Football Outsiders Pinpoints Patriots’ Most Valuable Veteran Contract

Shaq Mason has been a steady force on New England's offensive line


Dec 24, 2021

Much was made about the Patriots’ free agency spending spree last offseason, but New England’s best bang for its buck, as it relates to the current roster, might be an underrated player in his seventh season with the organization: guard Shaq Mason.

Football Outsiders’ Cale Clinton and J.P. Acosta identified each NFL team’s most valuable veteran contract in a piece published Friday on, taking into account present value, likely long-term value and percentage of the salary cap tied up.

Mason, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, was chosen as the Patriots’ best such deal. The 28-year-old has a cap hit just north of $9.5 million for 2021, along with two more years at very reasonable rates ($10.275 million in 2022 and $8.875 million in 2023).

Here’s more from Clinton and Acosta, via

Mason, the team’s right guard, has been the most dominant of the bunch. On 659 total snaps, Mason has allowed just seven blown blocks and has yet to allow a sack this season, per Sports Info Solutions. As one of the best guards in football, Mason has a contract that’s tied for 13th highest among all guards. It crosses the $10 million mark once over a three-year stretch, which seems like a small price to pay a guard who has career opponent stuff rates and sack rates below 1%. Cleveland’s Wyatt Teller is a right guard comparable in age and skill level, and his contract extension begins at $15 million.

Mason been a consistent force along New England’s offensive line, opening holes for the team’s dangerous rushing attack while protecting rookie quarterback Mac Jones. One could argue he should’ve been named to the AFC’s initial Pro Bowl roster, which features three Patriots players (linebacker Matthew Judon, cornerback J.C. Jackson and special teamer Matthew Slater).

Worth noting: Football Outsiders didn’t use drafted players on rookie contracts as part of its exercise, as that obviously would change the conversation in some instances where the performance of a young player far exceeds his first NFL contract.

Either way, it’s probably time Mason, a longtime starter with two Super Bowl rings, earns a little more recognition for how well he’s performed in a Patriots uniform.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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