The Patriots began this offseason with a major need at offensive tackle, and they reportedly added one Tuesday afternoon.
New England agreed to a two-year deal with former Broncos tackle Calvin Anderson, according to multiple reports. Anderson represented the Patriots’ first external signing of this year’s NFL free agency period.
The 26-year-old actually signed with New England as an undrafted free agent in 2019 but was cut less than a month later. He went on to enjoy three solid seasons in Denver, making 12 starts, including seven in 2022. Anderson spent the bulk of his time at left tackle but also saw some snaps on the other side of the line.
The Patriots previously re-signed depth tackle Conor McDermott and still have Trent Brown and 2022 seventh-round pick Andrew Stueber on the roster. So, are they done looking for help at tackle?
“Patriots are on the board with an agreement with swing tackle Calvin Anderson,” Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweeted, citing a source. “He’s viewed as potential starting competition or a strong backup. Certainly potential for more moves at the position.”
New England is giving itself options.
Even if the Patriots do what many believe they should do and draft a franchise left tackle, there’s no guarantee the player will be ready to start in Week 1. Sure, you’d prefer a first-round pick to be ready to start immediately, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.
If such a prospect needs additional time to develop or suffers a training camp injury, the Patriots could roll with someone like Anderson for a few weeks. The same is true for McDermott, who started six games for New England this season.
Anderson and McDermott also could battle for the swing-tackle role in training camp. That’s an important job in New England, especially with Trent Brown playing one of the tackle spots. They also simply could be around to provide depth behind either a high draft pick or a marquee free agent signing.
Landing Anderson is a solid, sensical move for the Patriots. But in terms of adding help at offensive tackle, it probably is just the first domino.