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Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Examining rookie free agent deals

By Mike Reiss

The Patriots signed seven rookie free agents after the draft, and looking at the signing bonus/guaranteed money each player received is a good reflection of how they were valued and what type of competition the club faced from others to sign them.

Here is the rundown:

OL Jeremiah Warren (So. Florida) -- $28,000 ($18k to sign, $10k of guaranteed salary)*
RB Brandon Bolden (Mississippi) -- $15,000
OL Markus Zusevics (Iowa)- $13,000
DL Marcus Forston (Miami) -- $10,000
DE Justin Francis (Rutgers) -- $10,000 ($7k to sign, $3k of guaranteed salary)
TE Brad Herman (Iowa) -- $2,500
WR Matt Roark (Kentucky) -- $2,500

* Figures have been adjusted and increased after an initial error. 

ANALYSIS: Patriots coach Bill Belichick attended South Florida's Pro Day and spent time with Warren, who began his career at left tackle before moving inside to guard. Based on this investment, it wouldn't be surprising to learn the Patriots probably considered drafting him in the seventh round. Furthermore, the Patriots didn't draft an offensive lineman, so it makes sense that two of their three biggest investments were on the line. Meanwhile, Bolden was arguably the top running back available after the draft, so it's likely the Patriots were bidding against others, which drove up the price. All deals for rookie free agents were three years.