If somebody asked you to do your best Logan Mankins impression, where would you start?
Would you grow an intimidatingly thick handlebar mo'? Flip tables and desecrate the image of Ndamukong Suh at the mere mention of SpyGate? Rush like a bull at the closest unassuming body every time Tom Brady takes a sack? Play through an entire season with a debilitating injury?
RT Sebastian Vollmer reportedly took the least enjoyable but most noble route this season. According to sources first cited by the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian, Vollmer underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday in Boston to cure pain and swelling that he suffered through all year long. Even with Vollmer's recurring back problem coupled with an injured knee, Vollmer ended up missing only one game--the Nov. 22 49-19 obliteration of the New York Jets that caused the 'buttfumble' and Fireman Ed's retirement.
While our collective hearts go out to the consistently elite Vollmer, the business side of the game rears its ugly head and adjusts its Rich Uncle Pennybags monocle. With another notable injury to add to Vollmer's extensive medical checklist, this news only improves the Patriots' leverage in contract negotiations going forward. Applying the franchise tag on Vollmer is unlikely considering its estimated $9.6 million cost, so the Patriots look to extend their young offensive lineman while simultaneously saving a few dollars under the umbrella of multiple red flags.
A top right tackle in the open market is valued at around $6-$7 million per year, and if the Patriots are comfortable investing more than a handful of years in Vollmer, they may be able to retain his services for less than that. You can never count out a cap-flexible team courting a top player like Vollmer with an offer even he can't refuse, but with a troubling medical history that the Patriots would find themselves having the most intimate knowledge of, it's New England that heads into free agency with a sizable advantage.