(Student assistant Mike Rodak continues an early position-by-position look at free agency with the Patriots. Because free-agency rules are unclear based on the uncertain collective bargaining agreement, the 2010 rules were used to compile the information. Teams may also restrict some of these players with the franchise tag.)
POSITION: Offensive tackle
RATING THE NEED: Moderate
KEY CONSIDERATION: The Patriots have one starting tackle in Vollmer, but uncertainty at the other spot. Ten-year starter Matt Light is a free agent and may not return. Kaczur turns 32 in July and is coming off a season-ending back injury.
NOTABLE TARGETS ON THE MARKET: Matt Light (Patriots), Quinn Ojinnaka (Patriots), Ryan O’Callaghan (Chiefs), Jermon Bushrod (Saints), Jammal Brown (Redskins), Ryan Harris (Broncos), Jared Gaither (Ravens), Tyson Clabo (Falcons), James Lee (Buccaneers; restricted), Doug Free (Cowboys), Langston Walker (Raiders), Sean Locklear (Seahawks), Willie Colon (Steelers)
MOST LIKELY TARGETS FOR PATS: Light, Ojinnaka
SLEEPER POSSIBILITY FOR PATS: O’Callaghan
OUTLANDISH THOUGHT FOR PATS: Clabo, Harris
WRAP IT UP: If the Patriots are unable to re-sign Light, they are unlikely to turn to a light free agent crop at the position to fill the void. Instead, look for the replacement at the position to be home-grown.