The deal that was inevitable between the Patriots and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer happened Monday, as the sides agreed to a four-year contract.
According to a league source, the contract’s base value is $17 million, of which $8.5 million is guaranteed. It has a maximum value of $27 million, with Vollmer able to gain the rest of the money through incentives, roster bonuses, and Pro Bowl berths.
Although Vollmer was one of the top tackles available in free agency, the 2009 second-round draft pick did not draw much interest on the open market, and he wanted to remain in New England. Those things led to the Patriots retaining a key member of their offensive line — a player who has been a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro — for a reasonable price.
His signing means the Patriots will bring back their regular offensive line starters from last season — Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, and Vollmer.
When Vollmer is healthy, he is one of the best right tackles in the NFL. Through the first 10 games of last season, he allowed just one sack. But he missed Week 12 against the Jets (back was listed on the injury report, though it was his knee) and had some troubles the rest of the season.
Vollmer sat out just one game, and when he returned he had likely his worst game of the season, surrendering two sacks. According to ProFootballFocus.com, it was the first time in his career he’d given up more than one in a game.
Vollmer had his right knee scoped last month, and though those procedures are fairly common, it could have played a factor in the tepid interest from other teams.
The 6-foot-8-inch native of Germany — he was the first European-developed player drafted by an NFL team — was taken 58th overall.
He decided to play at the University of Houston without stepping on the campus before reporting for practice in 2004, and knew little English at the time.
Vollmer, 28, is the only member of the quartet of players the Patriots drafted in the second round in ’09 to remain with the team beyond his rookie contract — Darius Butler, now with the Colts, was released out of training camp in 2011, Ron Brace was cut toward the end of last season and has since joined the Redskins, and Patrick Chung signed with the Eagles and his former college coach Chip Kelly as a free agent earlier this month.
Defensive lineman Myron Pryor is the only other member of New England’s 12-player 2009 draft class still on the roster.