The New England Patriots have decided to use some of their excessive unused cap space to extend the contract of one of their key players. Scout.com has learned that center Dan Koppen agreed to a multi-year contract extension today locking up the Boston College standout for years to come.
According to ESPN Koppen's new deal is worth between $19 million and $20 million. It also reportedly includes roughly $7.5 million in bonuses.
Koppen, 27, was in the final year of his rookie contract and was set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2007. He is one of the Patriots' high-profile players to sign an extension in the final year of their contract. Last season, Richard Seymour did the same.
A former fifth-round pick of the Patriots in the 2003 NFL Draft, Koppen has rapidly developed into one of the elite centers in the league. He became the Patriots starting center his rookie season following the departure of former starter and fellow BC product Damien Woody via free agency.
After suffering a shoulder injury against the Miami Dolphins November 13, 2005, Koppen was placed on injured reserve and missed the remaining seven games of the regular season. As he rehabbed the shoulder, the 6-foot-2, 296-pound lineman was sidelined through both 2006 minicamps, and most of the team's training camp. He returned to the starting lineup for the 2006 season opener, and has played in each of the teams' first five games of the season.