Patriots LB Mayo Gets 5-Year Extension

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December 17, 2011 at 02:30pm ET

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If Bill Belichick has learned anything over the last decade, he's obviously aware that good linebackers are hard to find.

That's probably the reason why New England did what they needed to in order to make sure that Jerod Mayo will be in the fold for at least the remaining tenure of Belichick and Tom Brady's days in New England.

Mayo will be a Patriot for the next five years. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the fourth year linebacker has received a five-year contract exension, which will keep him in the fold for the immediate future.

He's become an impact player in their defense, with Mayo's diving interception at the end of last Sunday's win over the Washington Redskins bringing back memories of guys like Tedy Bruschi making similar plays during the tenure of his career.  It was a big play, and obviously one that reminded them why he's such an important part of this defense.

It was his second straight week with an interception, with the veteran making the first of his career during their previous win over Indianapolis.

That leaves them now facing a tough task in locking up wide receiver Wes Welker, who is in the final year of his contract. According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe Mayo's deal likely sets up a scenario where Welker could potentially be facing being given the franchise tag designation, which could potentially make the Patriots leading receiver's negotiations a little more contentious.

How that plays out remains to be seen, but for now the good news is they've at least solidified one key player in a defense that will likely see some changes after this season.