With news coming on Friday that center Dan Koppen is set to re-sign with the Patriots, an offensive line in New England that was hit with multiple injuries in 2011 will be crowded heading into the 2012 season.
Here's a look at the personnel along the offensive line:
*considered a tackle/guard
However, the depth at the position could be thinned if Light and/or Waters, who have both been connected to retirement rumors in recent months, do not return, and if Mankins, who underwent ACL surgery earlier this offseason, is not able to return in time for the start of training camp in July.
Meanwhile, the signing of Koppen will give the Patriots a total of 71 players under contract, not including wide receiver Wes Welker (unsigned franchise tender) or defensive lineman Kyle Love (unsigned exclusive-rights tender). The Patriots must conform to a roster limit of 80 players during the offseason, and even if Welker and Love remain unsigned, only nine undrafted rookie free agents could be signed following April's draft. The team would also have to make a corresponding roster move for every drafted player they sign over the summer.
In their league meetings last month, the NFL tabled until their spring meetings in late May a proposal to expand the offseason roster limit to 90 players, a figure that would include unsigned drafted players.