Adam Schefter from ESPN is reporting that the New England Patriots have signed LB Jerod Mayo to a five-year contract extension. Mayo is in the fourth year of his five-year rookie contract and would have been a free agent after next season. Monetary details have yet to be released, but Mayo was set to make $750,000 next season before signing this deal. Last season, Mayo set a career high with 175 tackles and was selected to his first Pro Bowl. He was also selected as Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2008 and has been a team captain since 2009. He is the signal caller in the huddle for the defense and, along with Vince Wilfork, one of the unquestioned leaders of the team.
Mayo’s significance to the Patriots goes beyond his on-field accomplishments.
When he was selected by the Pats in 2008, Mayo immediately immersed himself into the team and the region. He lives only a few miles away from the stadium and spends much of the offseason at the facility watching film and keeping himself in shape. Things like that go a long way to endearing oneself to Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft. Mayo is also very active in all of the Patriots’ charitable activities and is very popular with the fan base. As ESPN AFC East blogger James Walker points out, the Patriots now need to build the rest o fthe defense around Mayo. They have tons of cap space to spend coming up this next offseason and if they don’t make it out of their first playoff round again this year, it’s time to open up the bank almost exclusively on the defense (save for resigning Wes Welker).