By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — With Thursday night’s surprising news that center David Andrews is returning to New England, the Patriots will head into the 2021 season with some incredible depth on the offensive line. That should put a huge smile on the faces of quarterback Cam Newton and New England’s stable of running backs.READ MORE: Patriots Mock Draft Roundup: Mac Jones Or Trey Lance In First Round?
With Andrews reportedly agreeing to a four-year deal with the Patriots, New England will have its rock in the middle of the line for the foreseeable future. And he’ll be anchored by some extremely talented blockers to his left and right in 2021.
Here’s a quick look at what New England’s starting offensive line will look like:
LT: Isaiah Wynn
LG: Michael Onwenu
C: David Andrews
RG: Shaq Mason
RT: Trent Brown
Wynn has been up to the task at left tackle when healthy, while the monstrous Brown is back to man the right side. Onwenu was incredible as a rookie last season, one of the few bright spots on the team, and Mason has been solid throughout his six seasons in New England.READ MORE: Iceland's Arnor Traustason Eager To Make Mark With New England Revolution
And that is just the team’s starters. The depth behind those starters will further strengthen the unit.
A few days ago, when it looked like Andrews would be departing via free agency, the Patriots brought back Ted Karras. He started all 16 games at center for the Miami Dolphins last season, but will now likely bounce around the line. The versatile Karras can also play guard, and gives the Patriots some injury insurance should Andrews gets dinged up at any point.
Just about everyone on the line can move around too, giving Bill Belichick lots of options on the offensive front. Wynn can move around to guard if needed. Brown has experience on the left side from his great 2018 season in New England, and can switch sides if Wynn gets injured. Onwenu can also play right guard if needed.
The Patriots also have Justin Herron, Korey Cunningham and Yodny Cajuste as swing tackles, plus Marcus Martin and Najee Toran for more guard depth. And there is a real likely chance that Belichick will draft another lineman with one of New England’s nine picks in the upcoming NFL Draft.MORE NEWS: Xander Bogaerts Shares His Thoughts On Liverpool, Super League: 'I Like It The Way It Is'
The Patriots have been going wild in free agency, but the early days of the process saw them lose some reliable offensive lineman in Marcus Cannon (traded to Houston) and Joe Thuney (signed with Kansas City). But with Andrews back in the middle, and a great cast of linemen around him, the Patriots offensive line should once again be one of the team’s biggest strengths in the 2021 season.