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Monday, August 1, 2011
Rapid Reaction: OT Matt Light

By Mike Reiss

The Patriots have agreed to terms on a contract with left tackle Matt Light, a key re-signing that helps answer one of the club's biggest question marks entering training camp.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter confirms the agreement, which was first reported by The Boston Globe. The Globe reports it's a two-year deal.

The left side of the offensive line could have been completely overhauled in 2011. Instead, the Patriots will have stability with Light and left guard Logan Mankins, who erased any doubt early about his plans by signing the franchise-tag tender.

The Patriots have to be thrilled.

This now creates a scenario where first-round draft choice Nate Solder, the left tackle from Colorado, can be groomed without the pressure of having to step in immediately. It was going to be a major challenge for Solder to make an impact in this post-lockout environment (he has yet to see a playbook), and Light serves as a bridge until he's ready, probably in 2012. Solder remains unsigned.

From Light's perspective, it made sense to see what type of market developed in free agency. The sides had negotiated during the 2010 league year and couldn't come to terms, with the Patriots letting Light know they still had interest if he didn't find what he was looking for on the open market.

The Patriots' willingness to walk away, a discipline that has generally served them well, set up a scenario in which Light's return would be dictated by other teams' interest. It looks like the market didn't blow Light away.

On the field, the Patriots have been working with third-year man Sebastian Vollmer at left tackle in training camp, with five-year veteran Mark LeVoir (2 career starts) at right tackle. Light's return allows them to flip Vollmer back to the right side, where he was a second-team All-Pro in 2010.