When the Patriots signed Ted Karras to a one-year deal last week, the expectation was that he would return to New England as David Andrews’ replacement at center.
The Patriots even believed Andrews would move on in free agency, but things change in a hurry, and the team captain wound up coming back to New England on a team-friendly four-year contract Thursday night. That could leave Karras, who was drafted by the Patriots in 2016 and spent the 2020 season as the Miami Dolphins’ starting center, in a reserve role this season.
Karras never believed he was locked into the starting center spot in the first place, however.
“Nothing is ever promised in this organization,” Karras said Tuesday on a video conference call. “I got the opportunity with the contract and I’m going to have to earn any role I get. I’m not going to be slated in anywhere. I’m going to have to fight to contribute on this team.
“And yes I’m so happy for David. Great football player, great friend, deserves everything. He’s earned everything in this league. And I’m really excited to play with him, play next to him and work towards winning as many games as we can.”
Andrews is expected to be surrounded by Isaiah Wynn at left tackle, Michael Onwenu at left guard, Shaq Mason at right guard and Trent Brown at right tackle on the Patriots’ starting offensive line. New England’s offensive line is versatile enough, however, that Karras should wind up being the top backup no matter who potential goes down on the starting unit. If a tackle gets injured, then Onwenu would slide over to right tackle, and Karras could come in at guard. If a guard or center go down, then Karras is an easy fill-in at either position.
“I’m comfortable with anything,” Karras said. “I’ll play any position to survive in this league if they’ll give me a job. So, I’m ready to play whatever and working hard to be a contributor to this team.”
Even while losing Joe Thuney in free agency to the Kansas City Chiefs and trading Marcus Cannon to the Houston Texans, the Patriots have one of the best and deepest offensive lines in the NFL after re-signing Karras and Andrews and bringing back Brown in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders.