Easley’s four-year deal is worth $7.3 million with a fifth-year team option, a source told FOXSports.com. The contract includes $5.89 million in guarantees and a signing bonus of $3.63 million.
While Easley has been vigorously rehabbing from a torn ACL (his second such injury), he made his first appearance during last week’s mandatory minicamp. The 6-foot-2, 288-pound defensive lineman was selected No. 29 overall in May’s draft.
Easley played in 26 games in four seasons at the University of Florida and brings some youth to an aging defensive line. Expected to be ready by Week 1, Easley can play tackle or end and adds great depth to a defensive front that includes Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, both of whom are also recovering from season-ending injuries.
The Patriots also have veteran defensive ends Chandler Jones and his team-high 11 1/2 sacks in 2013, along with Rob Ninkovich and newly signed 10-year veteran free agent Will Smith.
Easley started 26 of the 32 games he played during four years at Florida with 81 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks. He played just three games as a senior before being injured.
He had an outstanding junior season after recovering from a November 2011 injury, a torn ACL in his left knee. He considered entering the draft after the 2012 season but stayed at Florida. Then he tore his right ACL and medial meniscus in a non-contact injury.
The Patriots also signed rookie free agent Chris Martin. The offensive lineman from Central Florida was signed by the Houston Texans on May 16 and released on May 27.