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Report: Michael Onwenu Sticking with Patriots

The Patriots continue to place a priority on their own players as they reportedly lock up offensive lineman Michael Onwenu on a multi-year deal.

Patriots OL Mike Onwenu
Patriots OL Mike Onwenu

The Patriots locked up another one of their internal free agents on Monday with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reporting that the team has come to a three-year deal with offensive lineman Michael Onwenu. Onwenu, a 2020 sixth-round pick, has been one of the team's most valuable offensive linemen during his four seasons with the team, turning in solid performances up and down the line but mainly at right guard and right tackle. 

This is the third reported re-signing for the team that lasts for three seasons, as New England appears to have prioritized sticking with some of their best players and rewarding them with multi-year deals. Both Hunter Henry and Kendrick Bourne have already reportedly re-upped for new stints in New England, while Onwenu's reported deal is the richest of the bunch.

A new core is slowly emerging at the forefront of the team's early offseason plans as they chart a course that echoes a draft, develop and retain model.

With a reported $38 million in guaranteed money, Onwenu cashed in on a lucrative contract after proving his value once again in 2024. He's missed just two games in four seasons and will continue to provide necessary depth at multiple offensive line positions, but also high-starter-level ability, especially inside.

The question now is where exactly Onwenu fits into Alex Van Pelt's offense, whether at his natural college position of guard or at the right tackle spot where he filled in admirably numerous times when the Patriots were caught in a bind in recent seasons.

The team added free agent offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, a move made official on Monday and one that should allow more freedom for Onwenu, though rookie Sidy Sow showed positive strides in his rookie season at guard. Left guard starter Cole Strange will be returning from a significant knee injury, but the Patriots now have some starter-level depth to work with.

No matter where he ends up, Onwenu offers intriguing insurance at multiple positions, always a welcome addition for any offensive line, a spot that traditionally sees its fair share of injuries.

Onwenu's brute strength and surprising athleticism make him a fit for almost any attack and, after a day of many guards switching teams and cashing in, Onwenu was one of the only o-linemen to stick with their current team. His total guarantee comes in just behind new Panthers guard Robert Hunt's whopping $63 million guaranteed as part of a five-year deal. 

In recent years the Patriots have struggled to develop and retain their own players. Now, with Kyle Dugger expected to at least be locked up for another season under the Transition Tag and Onwenu under contract for another three seasons, the fruits of the 2020 draft demonstrate a change in the tides.

DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer

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