Patriots Notebook

Vollmer has back injury

By Greg A. Bedard
Globe Staff / June 12, 2012
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Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer was seen last week limping on his right ankle during a rehab workout, but that’s not the injury expected to keep him out of the team’s three-day mandatory mini-camp, which starts today in Foxborough.

Vollmer had a “small procedure’’ to help get his back right for the upcoming season, according to a league source. It’s not known what the procedure entailed.

Vollmer, whose sophomore season at the University of Houston was wiped out because of major back surgery in 2006, is expected to be ready for training camp in late July.

His injury history is probably giving the team understandable pause on the contract front.

Vollmer, who will turn 28 in July, is entering the final season of his rookie contract and will make $650,000 this year.

Vollmer was in and out of the lineup last year with back woes and a sprained ankle. He played six games, starting five. Vollmer started the Super Bowl but split time with first-round pick Nate Solder.

Last season was the first time Vollmer had missed a game because of injury since joining the Patriots. He played in 30 consecutive regular-season games to start his career.

The Patriots are taking a cautious approach to make sure Vollmer, a second-round pick in 2009, is 100 percent this season.

With Matt Light retired, Solder will make the transition to full-time starter at left tackle. If Vollmer isn’t healthy, that would leave the Patriots with two second-year tackles. Marcus Cannon, who played seven games after coming off the non-football injury list following cancer treatments, would likely be the next man up. The 2011 fifth-round pick has more experience than Kyle Hix and Matt Kopa, who were undrafted free agents last season.

Deal details

The official numbers are in on the contract extension signed Friday by tight end Rob Gronkowski.

According to a league source, Gronkowski isn’t the league’s highest-paid tight end - but the extension is the richest for a tight end at six years and $54 million. The final $37 million is contingent on the Patriots picking up a $10 million club option by the final day of the 2015 league year (Feb. 28, 2016).

If the Patriots pass on the option, the team can’t place the franchise tag on him.

Including the first two years at his rookie salaries, the total deal is eight years at $55.23 million ($6.9 million average). With the team option, it’s basically two four-year contracts: $18.23 million ($4.557 million average) through ’15; and then $37 million ($9.25 million average) from 2016-19.

Gronkowski might not see free agency until 2020, when he would be 31.

Gronkowski is guaranteed to make $12 million. Another $5 million in 2015 is guaranteed against injury, and then if he’s on the roster on the fifth day of the 2015 league year.

Gronkowski has $30,000 workout bonuses in 2012 and ’13 and $250,000 for 2014-19. That’s an indication the Patriots want to make sure Gronkowski, who is becoming legendary for living life to its fullest in the offseason, continues to be around the facility during offseason workouts.

The deal also includes per-game active roster bonuses totaling $500,000 in 2016 and ’17 ($31,250 per game), and $750,000 ($46,875 per game) in 2018-19. This further insures the Patriots against injury for Gronkowski, who had back surgery his final year in college.

Gronkowski’s salary cap numbers from 2012-19 are: $2.66 million, $2.75 million, $5.4 million, $8.65 million, $6.65 million, $7 million, $11 million, and $12 million.

Signs of the times

The Patriots announced the signings of former Cowboys receiver Jesse Holley and former undrafted free agents Mike Ingersoll (offensive lineman) and Tyler Urban (tight end). The 28-year-old Holley played in 28 games with seven catches for the Cowboys the previous two seasons. Ingersoll, 24, was on the practice squad of the Bucs last season. Urban was released by Tampa Bay May 17 after signing out of West Virginia. Tight end Brad Herman, an undrafted free agent from Iowa, reverted to the team’s injured reserve. He sustained an Achilles’ tendon injury last week in practice. The veteran mini-camp through Thursday is not open to the public . . . Out of work and not ready to retire, Chad Ochocinco found a job back in his hometown. The former Pro Bowl receiver signed with the Miami Dolphins Monday, four days after being released by the Patriots. He’s expected to join the team for this week’s OTAs, which continue through Wednesday.

Greg A. Bedard can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @gregabedard. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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