Tom Brady’s favorite receiver wasn’t re-signed. And while the aftershocks of losing Wes Welker are still being felt, the Patriots were busy yesterday locking up one of Brady’s best bodyguards.

Sebastian Vollmer, the 6-foot-8, 320-pound right tackle who has been out testing the free agent market, is expected to finalize a four-year deal today with the Patriots, according to a source.

In the big picture, that’s good news.

Vollmer was one of the “big three” on the table for the Pats when free agency began. While many considered him third in importance, behind Welker and cornerback Aqib Talib, who was signed to a one-year deal by the team, that shouldn’t diminish the impact of getting the massive tackle back in the fold long term.

The Pats now have their entire starting offensive line intact for this coming season and beyond. That kind of continuity is important, with or without offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia cracking the whip.

The core of the line, twin towers Nate Solder and Vollmer at the tackles, along with Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins, are tied up through at least 2014, and in the case of Vollmer and Mankins, through 2016.

The familiarity of the group allows them to work and communicate better as a unit going forward. In theory, that better allows them to protect Brady. As it is, the unit is considered one of the NFL’s better offensive lines.

The issue clouding Vollmer’s free agency wasn’t based on ability, but health concerns. He had one of his knees scoped in February, but the more significant issue was a chronic back problem. He played through both issues in the 2012 season, missing only the Thanksgiving game against the Jets when the turn-around was too quick.