What would a contract extension look like for Mike Onwenu?

Could the Patriots extend one of their best players this season?
New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles
New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Patriots' guard Mike Onwenu is one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL. What would a contract extension look like for the stud player? The Patriots may have already prepared for the eventual departure of Mike Onwenu in 2024 after drafting three interior offensive linemen in the 2023 NFL Draft.

However, Onwenu is probably the best player on the roster and would be a wise investment to keep around on a long-term extension. Would t his be a move that the Patriots could make, and if so, what kind of money could we see Onwenu get?

Well, first off, I think it's pretty obvious that the Patriots would start with a pretty low offer, especially if Bill Belichick is behind the negotiations. That's just what Belichick does; you'll never see him overpay for a player, and that has benefitted the team and has fired back as well.

Onwenu is entering the last year of his rookie contract. He was a sixth-round pick back in 2020, so obviously he does not have a fifth-year option. Onwenu, right now, might be the best bargain in the NFL. PFF recently rated him as the sixth best guard in football ahead of the 2023 season, which is very high praise considering there are 64 starting guards in the NFL.

So, let's dive into some numbers. Among guards in the NFL in terms of AAV (average annual value), the top contracts would be Chris Lindstrom at $20.5 million per year, Quenton Nelson at $20 million per year, Elgton Jenkins at $17 million per year, Brandon Scherff at $16.5 million per year, and Joel Bitonio and Joe Thuney at $16 million per year.

If we're being honest, I think the minimum number Onwenu would sign for would be that $16 million per year figure. Onwenu is certainly in the top tier of guards with the formerly mentioned names, and what might make his contract more valuable is that he has also shown proficiency at right tackle, which is simply outstanding.

How many OL in the league can play at an elite level at both tackle and guard? Very few, if any. Both Lindstrom and Nelson are at or above the $60 million mark in guarantees. After them would be Thuney at $46.8 million and Joel Bitonio at $33.1 million. For the guarantees here, my guess is that Onwenu would not sign for less than $45 million in total guaranteed monies.

Total value is also a number to discuss, but that obviously has a ton to do with the length of the contract. Since OL tend to have a much longer shelf life in the NFL than other positions, it's not out of the ordinary to routinely see contract extensions at five years or longer. Five years feels right to me for a hypothetical extension for Mike Onwenu.

Well, what if I proposed this deal:

five-year, $90 million, $50 million total guarantees.

This seems like a huge deal for a guard, right? Some might cringe away seeing a figure like this, but given the current market of guard contracts and the fact that Onwenu can also play tackle, I even think that he could surpass these numbers, but I would not be surprised if he signed a contract with the Patriots or another team that looked something like this.