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Sebastian Vollmer, Patriots reportedly near contract

Sebastian Vollmer, arguably the top right tackle on the open market, has chosen to remain with the New England Patriots.

ESPNBoston's Field Yates reported Sunday that Vollmer and the team have reached an agreement on a new contract. Mike Garafolo of USA Today reported the deal isn't quite done, but the Boston Herald states Vollmer is expected to sign a four-year pact with New England on Monday, according to a source.

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The news hit just as we were crafting a post based on what Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe wrote Sunday, noting that Vollmer's chances of returning to New England "increase by the day." Bedard was dead on, and this represents a flat-out coup for the Patriots.

Vollmer's market was soft because of a postseason knee scope and his history of back issues, but the Patriots obviously feel good about the 28-year-old's recovery. We had Vollmer and right tackle Andre Smith as our top two free agents still available.

None of the offensive tackles from Jake Long on down will command the money they hoped for, but Vollmer is a valuable piece of the puzzle in New England after starting 15 games last season for an offense that averaged more snaps per outing than any team in football.

As they did with Aqib Talib, New England patiently gauged the market for Vollmer before pulling the trigger on their wisest free-agent move of the offseason.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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