The signing of wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins initially appeared to be a way for the Patriots to increase the level of competition for the bottom of the depth chart, but his contract suggests otherwise. Hawkins’ deal was finalized Thursday, and the numbers were filed yesterday with the league. His two-year, $1.84 million contract included a $150,000 signing bonus, base salaries of $715,000 in 2013 and $850,000 in 2014, workout bonuses of $25,000 each year and a $75,000 roster bonus in 2014. That’s a lot to digest, but the most important number is the $150,000 in guaranteed money. While that isn’t enough cash to solidify his roster spot, it really pops out because wide receivers Julian Edelman, Donald Jones and Michael Jenkins didn’t lock down a guaranteed dime among them this offseason. To be fair, the four signed different types of contracts. Jones (three years, $4.155 million) will earn $235,000 in roster bonuses and $200,000 in reporting bonuses each season of the deal, so there are ways to earn some extra loot as long as he remains on the team, though it’s easy for the Pats to dump him at any time. Edelman (one year, $715,000) got something of a prove-it deal due to injury concerns, and he can gain $50,000 in workout bonuses this offseason and up to $250,000 with an unspecified amount of receptions. Jenkins (one year, $840,000) signed for the minimum salary benefit, putting his cap hit at $570,000. In the NFL, contracts are anything but equal, and this case exemplifies that, but signing bonuses are always a comparative number because they affect dead money against the salary cap if the player is released. Though there isn’t a hard and fast rule tying bonuses and roster locks, the general belief is a player who inks a $200,000-$250,000 bonus is pretty safe. Hawkins falls a bit short of that number, but that’s still a haul for a guy who caught 47 passes for 470 yards and one touchdown in 2011, but just 24 passes for 301 yards and no scores in his other four seasons combined. It’s evident the Patriots like him, and it’s likely they had to up the ante to woo him away from other teams after he was released last week by the Titans.
Pats expect WR Lavelle Hawkins to pay off
Boston Herald | May 11