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A closer look at the Patriots’ decision to sign OL Robert Gallery

03.19.12 at 3:59 pm ET
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The addition of Robert Gallery to the Patriots’ offensive line gives New England a veteran presence up front, as well as some positional versatility going forward.

Gallery, a 31-year-old who has been in the league for eight seasons (seven with the Raiders and one with the Seahawks), was the second overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Iowa. The 6-foot-7, 325-pounder has played both tackle and guard over the course of his career — some believe he’s actually a better fit at guard — and gives the Patriots’ some positional versatility.

Two things stand out to be about this move: First, with the exception of Brian Waters, who was added to the mix prior to the start of last season and had a dynamite year, the Patriots prefer to draft their offensive linemen, building that position from within as opposed to adding in free agency. Second, it’s likely Bill Belichick consulted with pal Kirk Ferentz before making the move. Belichick and Ferentz go way back (Ferentz was an assistant to Belichick in Cleveland), and Gallery played for Ferentz when he was at Iowa.

(In that same vein, we were reminded by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss of Belichick’s 2004 pre-draft press conference. When he was asked who he would take if he had the No. 1 overall pick, he said Gallery.)

It’s going to be interesting to see how all this shakes out once players filter back to Foxboro for offseason workouts. Waters and left tackle Matt Light have both floated the idea of retirement, and if they do decide to hang them up, Gallery could see a dramatically increased role with New England in 2012 if he does stick with the team.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, Bill Belichick, Brian Waters, Kirk Ferentz
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