Schefter: Pats had been talking to Waters

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Patriots' offensive line has been an area of strength thus far in 2012, but there was a time when many believed the absence of right guard Brian Waters, a standout performer in 2011, would leave the group short-handed.

Waters, who elected not to report to training camp and was placed on the reserve/did not report list, had been negotiating a potential deal with the Patriots to return to the team throughout the 2012 season, but nothing came to fruition prior to the Nov. 30 deadline, according to ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Waters is now ineligible to return to the Patriots in 2012.

The team will carry forward with its current mix of offensive linemen, which includes Dan Connolly, who has filled in at Waters' right guard spot. Connolly, the team's starting center following a season-ending injury to Dan Koppen in 2011, has been replaced at center by Ryan Wendell, who has played every offensive snap thus far in 2012.