Marcus Cannon was slated to become a free agent at the end of this season, but according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the reserve tackle has signed two-year, $9 million contract extension that will keep him in Foxborough through the 2016 season.
A fifth-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft out of Texas Christian, the 6-foot-5, 335-pound offensive lineman has played in 50 career games for the Patriots, starting 10.
Six of those starts arrived last season, as Cannon was asked to step in as New England’s starting right tackle after Sebastian Vollmer suffered a season-ending leg injury in October.
The Odessa, Texas native performed well over that span, and started another three games over at left guard at the start of this season before veteran Dan Connolly assumed the role, incumbent center Ryan Wendell moved to right guard, and rookie Bryan Stork took over at center.
Cannon has since logged a total of 108 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, leaving the move somewhat of a surprise.
Whether it was adjusting to a new position, or simply a regression in performance, New England’s developments up front have since shifted away from Cannon. The 26-year-old was eclipsed on the depth chart by fourth-round pick Cameron Fleming, who took over duties as the team’s primary eligible tight end and swing tackle, before finger and ankle injuries left the rookie sidelined.
Yet with Nate Solder slated to be with the team through 2015, Vollmer though 2016, and Fleming through 2017, the Patriots find themselves set long-term at the two bookend positions. Cannon is now a part of those plans.
“He gives us a lot of depth at a key position,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in his press conference Friday.