The New England Patriots value defensive lineman Dominique Easley enough to select him with their first pick, but that value is being challenged. According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald on Tuesday, contract negotiations between the Patriots and their first-round pick have hit a bump in the road.
A source close to the team says a deal is doesn’t seem imminent at the moment, but not having a contract signed will not affect Easley’s ability to practice at the facility or on the field. The Patriots, however, are not the only team yet to sign their first-round pick. Only 10 of the 32 first-rounders have signed with their teams. The team also has yet to reach a deal with second-round quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Easley is coming off an ACL injury that sidelined him for the majority of his college football season. The Patriots selected him despite the injury, having complete confidence in Easley to fully recover and be a force on the football field. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick expressed that confidence in an interview with SirusXM NFL Radio last week. He said, “We’re confident that he’ll be able to return from the injury like almost everybody who’s had an ACL has, so I don’t think it’s the type of injury that isn’t pretty common in our league.”
The former Florida Gator has been working out since he was introduced at Gillette Stadium and has been taking part in limited workouts. As a player, Easley has the motor and fire it takes to be a major force in the NFL and is also considered a steal by some experts and coaches throughout the league. Some may even say he’s a bargain. But Dominique Easley is proving so far with the contract negotiations that he is far from a bargain financially.