Few players are more well-versed in New England’s complicated playbook. In addition, the nine-year veteran is one of the most popular and well-respected players in the locker room. Vitale was signed last March and seen as the leading candidate to replace the retired James Develin at fullback.
Contract situation: The Patriots have a few young players tied up, but enter 2021 without much long-term security at this position. Bentley, 24, is in the final year of his rookie contract. He’ll be a cap hit of nearly $1 million in 2021 and then a free agent in 2022.
All they have to do is give him a new contract with void years, convert most of his $19 million salary to signing bonus, and they can create nearly $13.5 million in cap space. The fact that they left the meeting without a contract suggests it’s not set in stone that Roethlisberger will be back, or perhaps they are squabbling over dollars. Bill Belichick’s praise for Cam Newton throughout the 2020 season wasn’t an act.