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Patriots Lose G Donald Thomas to Colts

The Patriots have lost their first free agent, as the Colts announced they signed guard Donald Thomas.

Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE

The New England Patriots have lost their first free agent of the 2013 offseason, as the Indianapolis Colts have announced that they have reached an agreement in principle with guard Donald Thomas.

Thomas, 27, was a pivotal reserve on the Patriots' offensive line the past two seasons. In 2012, Thomas played in all 16 games for the team, starting seven, while seeing significant time at both the left and right guard spots. He even occasionally lined up for the team as a lead blocking fullback in short yardage situations.

While the Patriots wanted to re-sign Thomas, he wanted to pursue an opportunity to start for another team. Without a doubt, that opportunity is in Indianapolis. And that opportunity likely comes with a nice pay raise for him as well.

The Patriots will certainly need to find a replacement for Thomas. While he played less than half the team's snaps in 2012, they were critical snaps, and they were played at a high level. And considering that guards Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly struggled to stay healthy in 2012, the team needs another interior lineman that can play multiple spots like Thomas could.