The Patriots and starting right guard Stephen Neal have agreed to terms on a two-year contract, according to a league source.
The deal is not yet signed, but barring an unexpected snag, Neal would represent the third player locked up by the team on the first day of free agency, joining outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain and nose tackle Vince Wilfork. Patriots.com, the team's official website, first announced word of Neal's agreement on Twitter.
The 33-year-old Neal has been with the Patriots since the 2001 season. He is one of the more athletic guards in the NFL, and the Patriots often tap into his athleticism by pulling him on running plays and screen passes.
The Patriots now have all five of their starting linemen returning in 2010, as well as their top backups.