Patriots Refused to Overspend on BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Mark Anderson

Aaron DodgeAnalyst IMarch 22, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Mark Anderson #95 of the New England Patriots reacts to a play in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The former Patriot tag can officially be placed on defensive lineman Mark Anderson and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, according to

The New England Patriots decided to move on from both free agents this offseason; this after opening the checkbook for 15 other athletes. The Patriots franchise-tagged Wes Welker, re-signed four of their own athletes and extended contracts to 10 new free agents. 

It's not about how much they have spent, though. What's more important is how much they just saved. 

The penny-pinching Patriots were never going to pay Anderson more than what they had shelled out in 2009 to Tully Banta-Cain, who could have maxed out his three-year contract at $18 million. 

Buffalo is buying its defense this offseason and thought it would be wise to hand Anderson, soon to be 29, a four-year pact worth $27.5 million. Anderson scored an $8 million signing bonus on top of that. 

So he's almost 30, coming off of a career season. He's only made six starts since 2008, and the Bills are going to pay him nearly $7 million a year until he's 33. Good call. Boy, am I glad Buffalo is in the AFC East. 

The financial terms of the Green-Ellis deal have oddly yet to be released, but the Cincinnati Bengals overpaid, I can guarantee it. 

Now that's not to say BGE isn't deserving of a payday; he's made about $3 million in his four years in the league as a professional athlete. The path he's taken as an undrafted free agent likely had him looking for the biggest deal, and no one can fault him for that.

The Bengals also got themselves a pretty solid player, but they're going to pay him like a starter, which he isn't. Benny has a lot of starting qualities, but not all of them. But that didn't matter to Cincy. He was given three years and likely received an offer of similar length from New England. 

The Patriots were willing to pay him nearly $2 million last year as he produced less than 700 yards. It's likely the team stayed in that range and offered a deal around $6-9 million over three.

Cincinnati could've gone much further, offering $4-6 million a year, getting them into the $12-18 million range. It probably didn't take him long to decide. 


Interested in reading more by this B/R featured columnist? Check out more of Aaron Dodge's work. 

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