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Patriots re-sign their first free agent, keep Brian Schwenke on a one-year contract extension

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One down, seventeen left to go.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In exactly one month, a sizable portion of the New England Patriots’ 2018 team will hit the open market: a total of 18 players entered the offseason set to become unrestricted free agents with the start of the new league year. However, not all 18 will make it that far as the Patriots have already begun to extend players. Today, the first such move was made: according to ESPN’s Field Yates, New England re-signed offensive lineman Brian Schwenke.

The 27-year old will return to New England on a one-year, $895,000 contract extension that runs through the 2019 season. Schwenke originally joined the Patriots in late July last year and despite getting thrown in at the deep end — he was brought aboard when New England’s training camp had already started — he performed well enough over the next few weeks for the team to keep him on speed-dial after his release in early September.

Schwenke, a fourth-round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2013 that also spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, re-joined the Patriots three days after his release and served as a backup interior offensive lineman until early November. After appearing in three games — he played four snaps on offense and 21 on special teams — the Cal product was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury, however.

Re-signing Schwenke now gives the team an experienced backup option behind New England’s outstanding interior trio of Joe Thuney, David Andrews and Shaq Mason: over the course of his six-year career in the NFL, he appeared in 62 games with 30 starts. And even though Schwenke will likely not turn into a starter anytime soon, locking him up as a depth option is a valuable move at this time of the year.