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Patriots expected to release veteran OT Sebastian Vollmer next week

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According to Jeff Howe, the team will move on from its 2009 draft pick once free agency starts.

Entering the 2016 season, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer was expected to be a shoo-in to once again earn a starting role as the New England Patriots’ right tackle. After all, the veteran had held this role for most of his career since getting drafted in 2009 and no challenger was in sight.

However, Vollmer was placed on the physically unable to perform list in July and was never activated off it. During his absence, the Patriots found their next right tackle in Marcus Cannon, which in turn sparked questions about Vollmer’s future.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, those questions will get answered next week:

Not a surprise but the Pats are expected to release Sebastian Vollmer by the start of free agency. Retirement remains a possibility.

In a follow-up tweet, Howe pointed out that Vollmer’s hip is "in bad shape". A hip injury was one of the health issues that plagued the 32-year old in 2016, and ultimately forced him to stay on PUP throughout the year. Because of his stint on the sidelines, Vollmer’s contract tolled. As a result, the eight-year veteran was originally not scheduled to hit the open market next week.

However, today’s news that the Patriots are expected to release him will change that – Vollmer will become an unrestricted free agent. Due to the move, the Patriots will gain an additional $1.785 million in salary cap space and will likely either move forward with Cameron Fleming or a new signee as the number three tackle on the roster.

Vollmer, on the other hand, will be out of a job for the first time in his professional career. Since getting selected by New England in the second round of the 2009 draft, he has appeared in 98 games and was the starting right tackle in two Super Bowls, winning one.