At 28 years old, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is already starting to show signs of wear and tear.
A back injury kept him sidelined for much of 2011, and he had a "small procedure" on his back prior to the 2012 season.
Vollmer was bothered by both back and knee troubles during the season, but played through the difficulties, only missing one game. ...No doubt, the surgery will further complicate his contract negotiation with the Patriots, or any other team should he reach the open market. As it was, Vollmer’s chronic back problem made it somewhat difficult.
The procedure has been described as routine, but it's fair to wonder whether Vollmer's checkered injury history will affect his value on the open market. There's no denying his talent at tackle, and the need for tackles is always at a premium, but how will teams feel about another note on the rap sheet of injuries?
According to Reiss, the Patriots are expected to offer Vollmer around $6 to $7 million on a long-term deal. The franchise tag seems out of the question, with a price tag of over $10 million.
Vollmer was rated as Matt Miller's second-best right tackle in the NFL, and ProFootballFocus.com said a healthy Vollmer could have easily been the NFL's best right tackle. Will another team be willing to pay him like a left tackle?
As we know, the Patriots will probably not budge off the price tag they think is fair value for Vollmer. From there, it will be up to the rest of the NFL to determine whether to overlook his injury history or not.
Here's some more news from around the AFC East.
Tim Graham of The Buffalo News says that the Bills may be more in need of a tight end now with Scott Chandler's knee injury.
According to Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 SportsRadio, Bills GM Buddy Nix thinks Leodis McKelvin is the team's most likely starter at cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore.
According to Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post, Jeff Ireland "certainly" sees a role for Bush, and Sean Smith and Randy Starks are the team's prime candidates for the franchise tag.
Bleacher Report Patriots featured columnist Marc Freshman ranks the Patriots' biggest free agent priorities.
Conor Orr of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger says the Jets have made every indication that they want Darrelle Revis to be part of the team going forward.
Steve Bateman of TurnOnTheJets.com says that after his film review, he doesn't think Antonio Cromartie has the ability to be a lockdown cornerback.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained first-hand or via team press releases.
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