Patriots market watch: Dan Connolly

Projecting the financial market for some of the New England Patriots' top free agents:

Player: Dan Connolly

Position: Guard-center

Age: 32 (birthday: Sept. 2, 1982)

Credentials: Team captain who plays all three interior positions. Steadying, intelligent presence whose shift to left guard helped solidify the offensive line in 2014 while also helping left tackle Nate Solder. Has big-game experience. Athletic and often effective when pulling. Injury history is a consideration as he's played the full 16-game schedule just once in his nine-year career (89 regular-season games, 71 starts), but also has shown the toughness to play through injuries.

Assessing the market: Veteran Minnesota Vikings guard Charlie Johnson signed a two-year deal that averaged $2.5 million per season in 2014. There was no signing bonus, but the deal included a $1.5 million roster bonus. Another veteran guard, Richie Incognito, signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Buffalo Bills on Feb. 9. That is a different type of situation with Incognito coming off suspension, but it is still a small part of the veteran guard market. In 2014, Patriots center/guard Ryan Wendell signed a two-year deal averaging $1.625 million per season with an $850,000 signing bonus. On the high end, Chicago Bears guard Matt Slauson signed a four-year deal in 2014 with an average of $3.2 million per season and $4.9 million in bonuses and guarantees.

Our take on Connolly's value: The first question is if Connolly plans to keep playing. If he does, he is a starting-caliber player who should fall in line with something similar to what Wendell earned in 2014.

Projected contract: Two years, $4 million with a $1 million signing bonus.