The Patriots have reportedly locked up tackle Sebastian Vollmer to protect Tom Brady. (Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
The New England Patriots and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer have agreed to a four-year contract that is expected to be formally announced on Monday, the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian reported.
The deal keeps intact the stellar offensive line that protected quarterback Tom Brady last season. Vollmer was part of an offensive line that was tasked with replacing three former starters — Matt Light, Brian Waters and Dan Koppen — in 2012.
The deal also means that the Patriots retained two of their top three free agents. They re-signed cornerback Aqib Talib last weekend, but they also failed to re-sign wide receiver Wes Welker, who jetted to the Denver Broncos.
The 28-year-old Vollmer has played his entire four-year career with the Patriots. He missed one game last year, but the free-agent market wasn't buzzing for him because of a postseason knee scope and his history of back issues. He played only six games in 2011 because of injuries.