Resetting Patriots’ Offensive Line With David Andrews Returning

New England's O-line has elite potential


March 18, 2021

Despite losing arguably its best player, the New England Patriots’ offensive line is looking awfully strong two days into free agency.

In a surprise move, longtime starting center David Andrews re-upped with the Patriots after testing free agency, signing a new four-year contract Thursday night, according to multiple reports.

Retaining the multi-year team captain allows New England to keep its O-line anchor in place and provides a huge boost to the team’s interior depth, which took a hit when standout left guard Joe Thuney left to sign a five-year, $80 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.

With Andrews staying, the Patriots will be free to use Ted Karras — who returned to New England this week as Andrews’ expected replacement after one season with the Miami Dolphins — as their top backup at all three interior spots, reprising the role he played during his first three years with the franchise.

With 2018 starting tackle Trent Brown also returning in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders, the Patriots’ top-choice offensive line this season could look something like this:

LT: Isaiah Wynn
LG: Mike Onwenu
C: David Andrews
RG: Shaq Mason
RT: Trent Brown
Top iOL reserve: Ted Karras
Third tackle: Onwenu
Fourth tackle: Justin Herron

Brown played on the left side during his first stint with the Patriots but was a right tackle with the Raiders and San Francisco 49ers. Onwenu, one of the biggest steals of the 2020 NFL Draft (sixth round), was New England’s top right tackle by the end of last season, but he’s a natural guard and likely would be the best bet to replace the departed Thuney.

Wynn also has guard experience (though little at the NFL level) and could bump inside if the Patriots opt to stick Brown at left tackle and Onwenu at right tackle. Herron showed swing tackle potential as a sixth-round rookie last season and should be a valuable reserve.

Rounding out New England’s current depth chart are interior linemen Ross Reynolds, Marcus Martin and Najee Toran and tackles Korey Cunningham and Yodny Cajuste. They’ll compete for roster spots this summer. The Patriots also could target a tackle or guard prospect in next month’s draft.

Losing Thuney — who started every game over the last five seasons — undoubtedly hurts. But if this current group remains healthy and intact, it has the makings of an elite unit.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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