While the Patriots have garnered a cruel reputation for cutting or trading players who are about to receive a big payday, they are also excellent at rewarding their own loyal role players.
The latest example: The team and tackle Marcus Cannon agreed to a five-year deal worth $32.5 million, including $14.5 million in guarantees, a source told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
Cannon, 28, was a fifth-round pick by the club back in 2011.
While dominant offensive line play is not commonly associated with the Patriots and their quick-passing offense, Cannon helps make up arguably one of the best tackle tandems in football. Alongside Nate Solder, the pair has been pretty exceptional in 2016 -- and sturdy. Cannon has started all 10 of the team's games this season and rose from swing tackle to lineup regular.
The deal could spell the end for Sebastian Vollmer, the 32-year-old former second-round pick who missed this season with a hip injury. Vollmer is a free agent after this season.
Cannon, meanwhile, goes as offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia goes. When the veteran instructor returned to New England this season, so did dominant play from the 6-5, 360-pound tackle. Keeping Tom Brady upright is a serious task in New England, so when the Patriots invest in an offensive lineman long-term, they most certainly mean it.