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Light moves up Patriots' priority list

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Posted March 12, 2011 @ 8:34 a.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

When a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is struck and free agency can begin, the Patriots have one notable player left to attempt and re-sign: OLT Matt Light. And we hear the veteran could get more than a one-year deal from the team.

With OLG Logan Mankins receiving the franchise tag, starting RB BenJarvis Green-Ellis getting a second-round tender and backup RBs Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor being candidates to retire, Light becomes a top priority.

Light has started every game in seven of his 10 seasons with New England, including all 16 last season protecting Tom Brady's blind side. He had some struggles early in 2010, but came on strong toward the end of the season, most notably in games against the Steelers and Colts when facing top pass rushers. The Patriots were fourth in the league in fewest sacks allowed with 25.

In a radio interview in Boston this week, Light said he hopes to remain in New England, but the Patriots' players' union rep admitted he knows it's a business. "If we can come to a common ground, I'd love to be back and enjoy the Patriot Nation for a few more years," he told WAAF.

We had heard in the middle of the 2010 season that the Patriots could keep Light on a one-year deal, but with OG Stephen Neal retiring, reports that the team will part ways with OT Nick Kaczur and still some uncertainty surrounding Mankins, the Patriots might want to work harder to keep Light.

The way we hear it now, the Patriots are interested in offering Light a two- or three-year deal, meaning he likely would retire as a Patriot should he sign. If New England decides to draft an O-lineman, which is expected, Light, a team leader, could stick around and help mentor a young player and his heir apparent, ORT Sebastian Vollmer.

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