The return of Dan Koppen to New England on a two-year deal raised some eyebrows since the Patriots seemed to be content with moving on from their longtime starting center after he missed 15 games in 2011 with a broken ankle.
According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe, he isn’t coming back to the Patriots to resume his role as the starting center. Bedard reports that the job is Dan Connolly’s to lose and the team views Koppen as insurance against injuries in the interior of the line. The injury is part of it, but there’s also a feeling that his play slipped in 2010 before he got hurt and that makes Connolly the favorite to stay in the starting lineup.
With the status of Matt Light and Logan Mankins still unclear for at least the start of next season, the Patriots have done a good job of creating depth to move forward regardless of their presence. Nate Solder, Robert Gallery and Koppen all have starting experience with Solder and Marcus Cannon on the way up in their careers.
That doesn’t mean they won’t continue to address the position in the draft, but it takes some urgency away from the situation. That leaves the door open to focus on upgrading the defense of the defending AFC champs.