|TY WARREN $18m guaranteed|
The Patriots wanted to lock up defensive lineman Ty Warren to a long-term extension and Warren wanted to remain with the team.
And with that, the sides finalized an agreement yesterday that extended Warren's deal through the 2011 season.
"What was evident from the start was that they were serious about this," said Vann McElroy, Warren's agent. "We were respectful about the process and how we dealt with it. From their standpoint, I think that went a long way, because both sides had the same goal. We were both willing, and it got done."
Warren's original deal, a six-year pact he signed as a rookie in 2003, was set to expire after the 2008 season.
"It means everything to me," Warren said last night. "The commitment they showed me, I'm going to show the same commitment back."
Based on the way the players' union calculates contracts, the extension includes $18 million in guaranteed money, according to McElroy, and a total maximum value of $35 million. The first three years average $7.35 million per season, he said.
Vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli was the point man for negotiations on the Patriots' side.
"Scott was as fair and honest as anyone I've negotiated with," said McElroy, who is based in Houston and has been a certified NFL agent since 1995.
"They initially approached us with the thought of whether they could get something done. At the time, I didn't think it would happen because you don't see too many teams do it. But as we got into it, both parties made the effort to do it in a respectful way.
"From my standpoint, it seems like New England is setting the table, saying they are willing to reward players who are committed to the whole process, who are committed to doing things the right way. If you're willing to work, it can happen."
The 6-foot-5-inch, 300-pound Warren is a budding star who had a career-high 117 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks last season. He was held out of practice this week after spraining his elbow in the exhibition opener against the Buccaneers last Friday.
The Patriots have their three starting defensive linemen -- Warren (2011), Pro Bowl end Richard Seymour (2009), and nose tackle Vince Wilfork (2009) -- locked up for multiple years.
The 26-year-old Warren, a first-round pick out of Texas A&M in 2003, was scheduled to make $1.075 million in 2007 and $1.45 million in 2008. The 2008 salary could have increased because of incentives.
"I can't say going into the season that I was wondering if they would do this, or do that, as far as my contract is concerned," Warren said. "It surprised me, like it did a lot of people. We found a middle ground. This wasn't an ego deal and there was no venom in the paper. That's the way I'd rather have it."
McElroy, who also represents first-year Patriots receiver Wes Welker, flew to town last week to hammer out the main part of the extension.
"Ty is ecstatic," McElroy said. "This is where he wanted to be. He and his wife, Kesha, are appreciative of the Kraft family. This is a big deal for Ty and my feeling is that it's a big deal for the Patriots to have him."
A native of Bryan, Texas, Warren has played in 63 regular-season games with 51 starts. He's totaled 291 tackles (170 solo), 13 1/2 sacks, and forced three fumbles. He has also appeared in 11 playoff games, with seven starts.
But because of the Patriots' 3-4 scheme, Warren's stats aren't fully reflective of his value to the team. Warren's strength to control blockers helps create playmaking opportunities for others, as he can occupy two blockers at a time.