The market for offensive tackles began to take shape early in March through various re-signings and free agency transactions, but the real table-setting deal went down Sunday night when the Rams whisked Jake Long away from the Dolphins. Now that Long’s big-money contract is in place, Sebastian Vollmer is in the next tier of tackles set to sign. Long nabbed a four-year, $36 million contract that likely won’t be topped by another tackle this offseason in terms of the $9 million average annual value. Vollmer and Andre Smith, who, like Long, are represented by Tom Condon’s agency, were waiting for this chip to fall. It’s fair to expect Vollmer to decide soon whether he will return to the Patriots or sign elsewhere. To better understand the base market for tackles, look at the deals for Sam Baker (five years, $41.5 million from the Falcons), Will Beatty (five years, $38.75 million from the Giants), Jermon Bushrod (five years, $36 million from the Bears), Gosder Cherilus (five years, $34 million from the Colts) and Phil Loadholt (four years, $25 million from the Vikings), according to reports. Those five contracts range from $6.25 million to $8.3 million in average annual value. Teams will be concerned with Vollmer’s medical history, particularly his lengthy back issue and this offseason’s knee scope, but if he can check out medically, it’s conceivable to think the soon-to-be 29-year-old would land a deal toward the high end of that spectrum. Still, injuries will be a major point of contention in negotiations, and Vollmer’s value could take a hit. He might be able to maximize his cash intake by banking on his own health and signing a contract with per-game bonus clauses.
Table set for Sebastian Vollmer
Boston Herald | Mar 19