Tom E. Curran

Weighing the cost of a Lawrence Guy holdout as training camp looms

Will the veteran defensive lineman be willing to give up $50,000 per day to make a point?

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The Patriots' offseason ends Tuesday. That’s when veterans are due to report for training camp, take their conditioning test and get prepped for the team’s first workout on Wednesday.

Will Lawrence Guy be in attendance? Guy, who’s missed just five games in six seasons, skipped mandatory minicamp in June because of contract dissatisfaction.

Guy signed a four-year, $11.6 million deal in 2021 after a free agent dalliance with the Dolphins. That deal was lighter than the one he got in 2017 when he first joined the Patriots (four years, $15.3 million). He’s scheduled to make $2 million salaries the next two years.

For comparison, the Patriots signed fellow defensive tackle Davon Godchaux to a two-year, $15 million deal in 2021 then reworked his deal last July. Godchaux is younger and has more upside, but one can see how Guy might feel slighted he's making a fraction of Godchaux’s dough. Or at least feel slighted that, after barely a year with the team, the Patriots gave Godchaux huge bump.

To be clear, I’m NOT alleging Guy begrudges Godchaux his money. I’m sure he’s happy for his teammate personally. Guy’s that kind of guy.

But I am making an educated guess that Guy isn’t happy when he looks around the roster and sees guys easily handed contracts worth multiples of what he makes, whether it’s Godchaux or Nelson Agholor or Jonnu Smith or JuJu Smith-Schuster. Or the two-year, $7 million deal the team gave DT Henry Anderson in 2021. Anderson played 35 snaps and was released last summer before his second season with the team.

If Guy is so rankled he decides to hold out, it’s gonna cost him $50,000 per day. And that’s a fine that can’t be waived away, according to the CBA . He can also "hold in" by reporting to camp and saying he’s not ready to go, thereby avoiding the fine.

Would the resulting pissing contest be worth it to the 34-year-old Guy? That’s the question that’s about to be answered.

Honestly, the overall fortunes of the 2023 Patriots don’t rest on Guy. But he’s been nothing but reliable and consistent for seven seasons. Kind of the same way Jakobi Meyers was for the past four before he got passed over for Smith-Schuster.

It's mystifying to me how freely Bill Belichick spends on players he’s coached against and how tight he sometimes is with guys who have been around and proven their worth for years. And a continued holdout by the highly-respected Guy brings that dynamic to the fore. 

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