By Brent Schwartz, CBS Boston Sports
BOSTON (CBS) — With a little over a month remaining before the Patriots begin training camp, the team has recently made a point to focus on adding incentives to the contracts of a few of its core players.
The most recent deal-sweetening was rewarded to Patrick Chung’s contract. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots have given the safety a chance at an extra $800,000 this upcoming season, with his incentives totaling to $1.7 million for 2017.
Chung, who signed an extension with the Patriots through 2018 last offseason, played in every game for the team during its Super Bowl run in 2016 and is an important part of the Patriots’ secondary.
Additionally, the Patriots reworked the deal of Julian Edelman, extending his contract through 2019. Tom Brady’s most dependable wide receiver has the chance to earn a maximum of $19.5 million over the next three seasons, including a total of $4.5 million in incentives.
This series of moves began last month, when the Patriots restructured the deal of tight end Rob Gronkowski. The restructure gives Gronkowski the chance to become the highest-paid tight end in the NFL if he plays 90 percent of the team’s snaps and produces at his usual All-Pro level (at least 80 catches and 1,200 receiving yards, or named an All-Pro).
The Patriots appear to be making these moves to provide added motivation for these players to stay on the field. Gronkowski’s health issues are particularly well-documented. He’s missed significant time in three of the past five seasons due to various injuries, leaving the Patriots thin at one of their most utilized positions and without one of the NFL’s most dynamic players.
Edelman suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot midway through the 2015 campaign and missed the remainder of that regular season, in which the Patriots finished 3-4 without him while losing the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss, meanwhile, characterized the moves as doing a “solid” for each of the players after they had outperformed their deals.
With this latest news on their deals, both players, along with Chung, now literally have added incentive to stay on the field and produce for the next few seasons.