NFL Beast

The Best Damn NFL News Site Ever!

Patriots are challenging Josh Uche to become a bigger part of their defense, contract incentives show

2 min read

#NFLBeast #NFL #NFLTwitter #NFLUpdate #NFLNews #NFLBlogs

#NewEngland #Patriots #NewEnglandPatriots #AFC #PatsPulpit

By: Bernd Buchmasser

Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The edge linebacker signed a one-year contract to stay with the Patriots in free agency.

The New England Patriots were able to keep edge defender Josh Uche in the fold for the 2024 season. The former second-round draft pick, who explored free agency for the first time in his career, a one-year, $3 million contract with the Patriots — a deal that is significantly lower than other offers he reportedly received.

Nonetheless, Uche will be in a position to boost his cash intake quite a bit before entering the open market once again next offseason. His new contract, after all, includes incentives worth up to $5 million. If he hits on all of them, he could therefore increase the value of the pact to $8 million.

What does he have to do in order to get there, though? According to a report by Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, the following:

ED Josh Uche: Contract incentives

2024: Up to $5 million
$500,000: 30% defensive snaps
$500,000: 40% defensive snaps
$500,000: 50% defensive snaps
$500,000: 60% defensive snaps
$500,000: 35% defensive snaps + 6 sacks
$500,000: 35% defensive snaps + 8 sacks
$500,000: 35% defensive snaps + 10 sacks
$500,000: 35% defensive snaps + 12 sacks
$500,000: 35% defensive snaps + 14 sacks
$500,000: Pro Bowl (original ballot)

All of Uche’s incentives are categorized as not likely to be earned (NLTBE). This means that they will not count against the Patriots’ salary cap this season, and will only hit the club’s books in 2025 if he reaches the various levels — something he did not do in 2023.

Playing 29.1 percent of defensive snaps, Uche had just three sacks last season and was naturally not voted to the Pro Bowl. This is the basis of the incentives’ NLTBE designation, but not necessarily an accurate representation of his potential productivity as a member of New England’s outside linebacker group.

In 2022, for example, Uche had the best season of his career. While he was on the field for only 33.1 percent of snaps even then — a reflection of his status as a designated pass rusher rather than a true three-down defender — he finished the season with 11.5 sacks. That season would still have only resulted in an extra $500,000, though, because his sack number would not have aligned with the 35 percent snap threshold.

Essentially, the Patriots are therefore challenging Uche not only to return to his previous pass rush production but also increase his role in their defense. He has yet to exceed that 33.1 percent play time share from his 2022 campaign, but will have to do so in order to get anywhere close to maximizing his contract value.

Originally posted on Pats Pulpit