After apparently learning there was not much of a free agent market for offensive tackles with a history of back problems who are coming off knee surgery, Sebastian Vollmer agreed to a four-year deal to stay with the New England Patriots according to multiple reports.
That may be a harbinger for tackle Andre Smith and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The 6-8, 310-pound Vollmer did not draw much attention early in free agency, where Jake Long and other offensive tackles cashed in with nice contracts. Long, who also had injury issues, signed with the St. Louis Rams on March 18 -- four-years, $34 million.
Vollmer and Cincinnati's Andre Smith became conspicuous unsigned free agents as days slipped by. Like Long, they are represented by CAA and both hoped to ride his coat-tails to a good offer. As it became obvious that wasn't going to happen, CAA opted to get Vollmer signed before the market went even lower.
With Vollmer re-signing, it is likely that Smith may follow suit.
Bengals owner Mike Brown said Friday that he is intent on signing Smith, Cincinnati's starting right tackle.
"They know that we want to make a deal, and we want them to engage and get it done," Brown said. Brown is sitting on the most salary-cap head room loot in the league, but the Bengals have always been called "thrifty," among other names with a similar meaning. Vollmer's decision probably plays into the Bengals hand,.