Better ‘Sooner’ than Never: Perkins Signs Rookie Deal with Patriots

Ronnie Perkins, the 96th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, has apparently signed his four-year rookie contract with the New England Patriots.
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And then, there was one.

With rookies set to report to New England Patriots 2021 training camp on Tuesday, July 20, one of New England’s newest defenders has seemingly made it official.

Ronnie Perkins, the 96th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, took to social media, posting a photo which shows him apparently signing his four-year rookie contract with the Patriots. 

Perkins’ deal is reported to be for four years, worth $4,785,844. It will also include a $840,616 signing bonus. He will carry a salary cap hit of $870,154 in 2021, per PatsCap’s Miguel Benzan. 

Perkins, 21, was a three-year starter for the University of Oklahoma, where he was named second team All-Big 12 in 2019 and 2020. During his time with the Sooners, Perkins recorded 99 tackles, 16.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one deflection.

While a six-game suspension for a failed drug test might explain his slide to the bottom half of the third round, Perkins’ talent cannot be denied. At his best, the 6-foot-3, 247-pound lineman is a disruptive run defender. He is also a relentless pass-rusher, with good burst and closing speed. Several NFL analysts have projected Perkins to play on the edge of the defensive line, taking on the responsibilities of a traditional, stand-up rusher. Some have also speculated that he could be moved to outside linebacker. While he was a star defensive end in college, the Patriots are seemingly looking to cast him in the role of outside linebacker, rather than a traditional edge rusher. This should allow him to play upright, which is more conducive to his size and style. In fact, Perkins worked closely with linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, and outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick during mandatory minicamp last month. This only served to fuel the speculation that the talented rookie might be ready for a positional shift.

Perkins’ signing leaves Alabama’s Christian Barmore as the only remaining unsigned rookie for New England in their 2021 draft class. 

The Patriots are scheduled to hold their first practice of 2021 training camp on Wednesday, July 28 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.