It wasn't one of their big-name free agents, but the Patriots lost one of last season's contributors in the first few hours of the NFL's free-agency period.
Guard Donald Thomas, who started seven games for the Patriots last season, has been signed by the Indianapolis Colts. The team announced the deal on its website.
Thomas filled in at both left and right guard as the Patriots dealt with injuries all along its offensive line at different points in the season. Thomas is going into his sixth NFL season after being drafted by the Dolphins in the sixth round out of the University of Connecticut.