The New England Patriots have made a major move to solidify their offensive line for the 2013 season. According to ESPN Boston's Field Yates, the Patriots and free agent offensive tacke Sebastian Vollmer have agreed to a new contract. Keren Guregian of the Boston Herald has since reported that the deal will be for four years.
We'll break down the contract further once more details become available, but the long term pact is a bit surprising considering the depressed offensive tackle market that had developed this offseason. As long as the team has re-signed Vollmer at a reasonable price with possible consideration for his injury history, this is a terrific move.
Most importantly - the move keeps the team's line from 2012 intact for the 2013 season. The team will have Vollmer and third year tackle Nate Solder as the bookends, with Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, and Dan Connolly anchoring the interior.
In four years in the NFL, Vollmer has proven to be one of the league's best right tackles, who can also play at a high level on the left side. But the question with Vollmer has been his injury history. Will his back hold up over the length of the deal? I don't have many questions about Vollmer's ability to play at a high, nearly elite level. But the injury question will continue to linger with Vollmer, who recently had a knee procedure, adding to the myriad of other surgeries he's had the last few offseasons. To his credit though, Vollmer was able to play 15 games in 2012, which was arguably his best pro season.
One final interesting note on Vollmer: this deal makes him the only Patriot from the 2009 draft class to sign a second deal with the team. Cornerback Darius Butler, defensive tackle Ron Brace, receiver Brandon Tate, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, lineman Rich Ohrnberger and George Bussey, long snapper Jake Ingram, and defensive tackle Darryl Richard were all cut by the team. Pat Chung recently departed to the Eagles. Myron Pryor remains under contract for 2013 while receiver Julian Edelman remains a free agent.