It took more than 24 hours, but the Patriots finally agreed to terms Tuesday with their first external free agent.
New England is signing veteran offensive tackle Calvin Anderson to a two-year contract, NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reported.
Anderson actually is a familiar face for the Patriots, who initially signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2019 but cut him less than a month later. After a brief stint with the New York Jets, he found a home in Denver, where he went on to appear in 41 games with 12 starts over the last three seasons.
The Rice product made his first NFL start at right tackle in 2020, but all of his regular-season snaps since that game have come on the left side, per Pro Football Focus. He started seven games for the Broncos this season and was PFF’s 48th-highest-graded tackle, two spots below new Patriots teammate Conor McDermott.
Anderson has seen work on the right side in each of the last two preseasons, so he should offer some positional versatility.
Though he cannot officially until the new league year opens Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, Anderson confirmed his return in a message to Patriots fans.
“I remember signing with you after the draft!” the 26-year-old tweeted. “Everything come full circle, and I can?t wait to give you everything I have and more. Not much for me to say, but a lot for me to do.”
Offensive tackle was the Patriots’ most glaring roster need entering the offseason, and their first two moves weren’t headline-grabbers: re-signing McDermott ahead of free agency and agreeing to terms with Anderson. Both have starting experience but have spent the majority of their respective careers as backups.
Trent Brown, who started at left tackle in 2022 and right tackle in 2021, and redshirted second-year pro Andrew Stueber also are under contract for the upcoming season.
The Patriots reportedly made a run at former Philadelphia Eagles tackle Andre Dillard before he agreed to terms with Tennessee on Monday. It’s unclear whether they expressed interest in top free agents Mike McGlinchey and Jawaan Taylor, who landed with Denver and Kansas City, respectively. Orlando Brown Jr. and Kaleb McGary, who also are in the upper tier of free agent tackles, remained on the market as of Tuesday afternoon.
The McDermott and Anderson signings shouldn’t preclude the Patriots from adding more bodies to this depleted position group, either through free agency or in the 2023 NFL Draft. This year’s draft class features several highly touted tackles (Georgia’s Broderick Jones, Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr., Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison, Tennessee’s Darnell Wright) who could be in play for New England at pick No. 14 overall.