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Monday, March 18, 2013
Long's deal & Vollmer resolution

By Mike Reiss

PHOENIX -- With left tackle Jake Long agreeing to a four-year contract with the Rams on Sunday night, the feeling here is that it could spark movement with Patriots free-agent tackle Sebastian Vollmer.

Long's deal, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, could be worth up to $36 million.

A few thoughts on why this could have a trickle-down effect on Vollmer's free-agent status becoming more clear:

1. Vollmer shares the same agent as Long and the other top free-agent tackle still on the market, Bengals right tackle Andre Smith. All three are represented by CAA, the group led by Ben Dogra and Tom Condon. Long's free-agent status took some time to resolve, which seemed to have Vollmer and Smith in a holding pattern. By solidiying Long's deal, the agents can now go to other teams and say they have a clearer picture of the current marketplace. Long's deal would presumably come in richer than Vollmer's or Smith's because he plays the higher premium position, but it establishes a ballpark range.

2. Just a hunch, but I don't sense the Patriots would be in the mix if the numbers are that high for Vollmer. Educated guess: Their best hope to retain Vollmer would be if the market doesn't come in as high and he'd be willing to return on a one-year deal (similar to Aqib Talib) to position himself for another crack at free agency in 2014.

3. With the Rams signing Long away from the Dolphins, it puts Miami in the possible mix for tackle help. That was an area that stood out from this perspective last year when watching the Dolphins, how they struggled at the position after Long was injured and teams like the Patriots exploited them. Perhaps Vollmer is a consideration for them. The Eagles are another club looking for right tackle help.