New England Patriots Analysis: Sebastian Vollmer locked up

As Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe wrote, the New England Patriots chances of re-signing Sebastian Vollmer increased with each day that he was left on the free agent market. Vollmer was expected to get a massive deal as one of the top offensive tackles hitting the free agent market, but that never materialized due to far less interest than expected. I didn’t hear reports of anybody calling in on Vollmer, and he was also banking on getting left tackle money after being curious to see what Jake Long would get.

Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots, per Field Yates of ESPN Boston, have signed Vollmer today, and it was Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald who reported that the pact between both sides would be for four years.

Sebastian Vollmer is one of the best right tackles in the game, and I rate him as the second-best RT overall behind Anthony Davis of the San Francisco 49ers. Although Vollmer’s back issues make him an injury risk, Vollmer is as steady as they come when on the field. A beast in run blocking and nearly flawless in pass protection, Vollmer ensures that the Patriots will keep an elite right tackle and won’t have to thrust third-year RT Marcus Cannon into a starting role yet (even if they are high on him as an organization).

It was predicted by most outlets, such as ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, that Sebastian Vollmer would get a one-year deal and do the same thing Aqib Talib did. That is, sign a one-year deal, have an elite year, and then set himself up for a big contract year in what should be a better free agent market in 2014 for Vollmer. But the difference between Vollmer and Talib is the difference between one years and four years- Vollmer is injury prone, therefore he will take the security (even if it is on a cheap deal) as opposed to the chance to get a big contract.

Therefore, I think the 28-year-old Houston product’s four-year deal will be a relatively inexpensive one, because Vollmer almost certainly received significantly less money than we expected him to or would have in 2014 had he went the Talib route and received that multi-year deal next free agency. If he still does get a very lucrative deal, which I doubt, then either the Patriots are really high on him or there was a bidding war for Vollmer and much more interest in the top RT than we heard.

The Pats have kept two of their three “Big Three” free agents in Sebastian Vollmer and Aqib Talib, and they mostly (definitely not completely) replaced Wes Welker with Danny Amendola. Moving along from speaking about Welker, Vollmer was tabbed by many (such as ESPN Boston and the Boston Herald) as the true free agent priority for the Pats above Talib and Welker. I agreed with this assessment, but a poll I created for the Musket Fire site showed that you readers believe Talib and Welker were No. 1 and 2 (Talib a mere couple of votes above Welker) as priorities.

Sebastian Vollmer is quite clearly one of the best right tackles in the game, and to put him out of the top three at the position even when factoring injuries is a crime. He was the best RT in the game until he was injured in late November, but he missed only one game all season (Thanksgiving against the New York Jets as a last-second scratch, with Marcus Cannon flawlessly filling in). The caveat there is that the Pats should have given him a rest against another AFC East rival when they first faced off against the Miami Dolphins, because Cameron Wake ate the clearly injured Vollmer alive. In the rematch to close out the season, Vollmer- like the Pats defense did to the Dolphins offense- blanked out Wake to show his skills.

It’s great to have Vollmer back, and the offensive line is almost completely settled. The only issue is guard after the loss of Donald Thomas to the Indianapolis Colts (great signing for Ryan Grigson and Jim Irsay), but that can be easily settled. It will be interesting to see if the Pats decide to fill that void internally by shifting Cannon to guard. The issue there is that he can’t play center, but the great thing is that Nick McDonald can (McDonald can play everywhere on the line).

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

Topics: Aqib Talib, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, ESPN Boston, Field Yates, Greg Bedard, Karen Guregian, Marcus Cannon, Mike Reiss, New England Patriots, Sebastian Vollmer, Wes Welker

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