Patriots in a Fight to Keep Team Captain and 2-Time Super Bowl Champion

Getty David Andrews

The New England Patriots‘ starting center, 2-time Super Bowl champion, and 4-time captain David Andrews might be the second major member of the offensive line to exit.

The team lost Joe Thuney to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, and Andrews hasn’t agreed with another team. Still, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, he is heading into free agency on March 17 after mulling what appears to have been New England’s offer to re-sign him.

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While this doesn’t guarantee Andrews’ exit from Foxborough, it does seemingly open the door for one of the more potentially hurtful departures from the Patriots’ roster this offseason.

Andrews came back from missing all of the 2019 season with blood clots and played well in 2020. He did miss four games with a hand injury but was otherwise solid in leading the most consistent aspect of New England’s team in 2020. The offensive line helped spur the Patriots’ running game to 2,346 yards, which was the fourth-highest in the NFL.

If he does go elsewhere, it won’t be easy to replace him.

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Who is Challenging the Patriots for Andrews’ Services?

Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins have proven to be a magnet for Patriots free agents over the past two offseasons. Last year, Miami snatched away Kyle Van Noy, whom they’ve since released, Elandon Roberts, and Ted Karras. This offseason, the Dolphins appear to be the primary competition for Andrews, per The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.

Karras plays center, as he filled in for Andrews with the Patriots in 2019. He signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins last offseason. If Miami is interested in signing Andrews, it’s clear they are either ready to move on from Karras or perhaps have plans of moving him to guard. 

Karras showed the versatility to play multiple positions on the O-line while with the Patriots. In any case, the Patriots would have to make a move to solidify their offensive line’s interior. It would be hard to absorb the loss of Andrews and Thuney, even with the addition of Trent Brown at tackle, which allows for 2020 super rookie Mike Onwenu to move back to his more natural position at guard.

He is in line to replace Thuney, but losing Andrews could throw a monkey wrench into the overall O-line plans. 

Who Could Replace Andrews?

The most obvious answer might be James Ferentz. He’s a free agent at the moment but played for the Patriots in 2020. He stepped in for Andrews while injured and obviously knows the system.

A more splash-worthy replacement could be the recently released Rodney Hudson.

The Las Vegas Raiders cut ties with Hudson on Monday, but the 31-year-old has made three Pro Bowls and has 10 solid years in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and Raiders organizations.
Hudson would be the second Raiders offensive lineman the Patriots plucked after trading for Brown, but acquiring the 31-year-old would stop most from panicking about Andrews’ potential departure.

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