David Andrews isn’t only a good starting center; he also has a number of other skills that help him out on the field. He’s a captain for the Patriots and a major authority figure among his teammates. He is the cohesive centerpiece around which the rest of the Patriots offensive line reforms.
The Patriots have no internal successor for Andrews, and their attempts to locate one have been fruitless, so paying him is preferable to having him walk as a free agent.
Just last year, in the eighth round, the Patriots drafted center Dustin Woodard from Memphis (230th overall). Woodard was obviously Andrews’ backup plan, if not a future successor. In August of last year, Woodard decided to end his football career for good.
The Patriots may have to pay a premium to keep Andrews if he attracts attention from other teams in the league. Premium-market entry-level centers often cost around $10 million per year. Andrews has stated his desire to remain with the Patriots, but it is expected that the team will have to make a very attractive offer to keep him.
What is Bill Belichick’s opinion of Andrews? Is he an indispensable player for the team, on par with Wilfork and Mankins?
If Andrews leaves, the Patriots may have faith that their head coach/general manager will draft and develop a capable replacement for him at the center. Even though there is now nothing promising in the organization, the hunt must begin immediately. The loss of Andrews would hurt the Patriots in more ways than one.
Andrews, who had been one of the team’s most reliable players over the course of his career, made a strong comeback after missing the entire 2019 season due to blood clot recovery. There is no one else on the Patriots’ roster who can adequately replace what Andrews does for the team. The Patriots will likely make a strong effort to keep him even if he receives a raise on his next contract.