The Patriots reportedly have agreed to terms with one of their key free agents, giving punter Ken Walter a five-year contract worth about $6 million.
First reported late Wednesday on ESPN.com, the deal was not yet signed, but all indications are that it will be very soon. Walter came to New England in Week Six and strengthened the punting game, which had been a problem area for the team.
He punted 49 times and pinned 24 of them inside the opposing 20-yard line. Only two of those punts went for touchbacks. Walter's style of higher, shorter punts makes life difficult for return men, who averaged a league-low 4.8 yards per return against the New England coverage team.
With Walter back in the fold, the Patriots now have 10 unrestricted free agents left, including kicker Adam Vinatieri, running back Antowain Smith and linebackers Roman Phifer and Bryan Cox.