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Marcus Cannon’s deal proving to be a home run for Patriots as the OL market is due to explode

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Free agency starts this week. Teams are flush with cash. And it’s burning holes in their pockets.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into training camp last July, Patriots’ right tackle Marcus Cannon was on the short-list of potential cap casualties. His poor play in 2015 had to still be fresh in the minds of those within the organization, and he represented a $3+ million cap savings at the time.

Fast forward to November of and Cannon found himself sitting down at a table to sign a five-year deal worth $32.4 million and $12.35 million guaranteed. The deal contract extension made Cannon the fourth highest paid right tackle in football in terms of per year earnings.

With his stellar effort put forth the entire 2016 season, few scoffed at the deal. Fans were also relieved to see a deal struck with any player, as Cannon was the first 2017 unrestricted free agent to be kept on board. The five-year term made Cannon the lone player on the team’s 2021 salary cap.

However, as solid as the contract appeared to be for both sides back in November of 2016, it’s starting to look like a real home run for the Patriots front office.

In his weekly “quick hits” column, ESPN’s Mike Reiss alluded to the five-year contract extension signed by Kansas City guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. According to Adam Teicher of ESPN, the deal is worth $40.25 million, $20 million of which is guaranteed.

This is the impact of the new $167 million team salary cap. And it that certainly won’t be the first large deal signed by a lineman this offseason, as free agency’s legal tampering period is set to start on Tuesday. The talent is scare, and almost every team is in a position to spend.

This means that the market for the right tackle position, which has taken a monetary back seat to its colleague on the left side, has the potential to undergo the largest financial revolution of any position. And according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Baltimore’s Ricky Wagner is going to lead the charge.

It’s funny he mentions Lane Johnson. Johnson is considered the best right tackle in football, and he is paid like it. According to overthecap.com, Johnson’s APY is $11.25 million. If former Wisconsin Badger Ricky Wagner is going to “blow the lid off” the standard $6.75 million per year of the other top players at the position, what does that mean for other tackles hitting the market?

More importantly, how much would a second-team All-Pro right tackle earn this year? The good news for the Patriots fans is, with Cannon never sniffing the open market, they won’t have to find out.

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