For much of the time since 2005, four of the five spots have been taken by the same guys — in Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen and Stephen Neal — making it one of the units on the club with the most continuity. But those guys have gotten older, and Mankins is gone all together (for now, at least).
So is there stability up front? There are currently seven linemen under contract who have started games for the Patriots. Here’s the breakdown on those seven, their ages and where they stand in regard to their respective contracts:
G/C Dan Connolly (4 starts): 27 years old, contract expires after 2011
OT Nick Kaczur (62 starts): 31 years old, contract expires after 2012
C Dan Koppen (103 starts): 30 years old, contract expires after 2011
OT Mark LeVoir (2 starts): 28 years old, contract expires after 2011
OT Matt Light (122 starts): 32 years old, contract expires after 2010
G Stephen Neal (73 starts): 33 years old, contract expires after 2011
OT Sebastian Vollmer (8 starts): 26 years old, contract expires after 2012
Is this reason for alarm? Probably not. But seeing as where it’s possible that Vollmer is the only guy of the above who’s around two years from now, the Patriots may well invest in these positions in the offseason, particularly if Mankins is gone or on his way out by then.