FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A person of the closing, unforgettable photos of the 2020 NFL period was Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes running for his existence in Super Bowl LV guiding a banged-up and revamped offensive line.
It was a reminder that even 1 of the NFL’s biggest gamers can not do it devoid of able defense.
Of program, longtime New England Patriots followers will need no reminders of this. Super Bowl XLII stays a single of the most unpleasant memories in franchise background, when the New York Giants overcome them up front, produced daily life miserable for quarterback Tom Brady, and crushed all hopes of a 19- year.
This delivers us to coach Invoice Belichick’s 1st decisive move of 2021: A trade to reacquire mammoth offensive tackle Trent Brown (6-foot-8, 380 kilos), who was outstanding for the Patriots in 2018. New England is sending a 2022 fifth-spherical decide on to the Las Vegas Raiders for Brown and a 2022 seventh-rounder, a resource told ESPN.
It is the first Patriots domino of lots of predicted to slide, and it’s a big a single for all those who believe football video games are won at the line of scrimmage.
Depend ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick in that classification.
Establish it within – out, front to back. Which is the strategy.
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) March 9, 2021
Incorporate Michael Lombardi, former Patriots assistant to the coaching staff members, in that team as effectively, as he explained right away following Tremendous Bowl LV, “The essence of the game will constantly be the essence of the video game: Whoever controls both lines will earn championships.”
Riddick and Lombardi occur from the Belichick School of crew making — Riddick obtaining played for Belichick in Cleveland in the 1990s, when Lombardi was the Browns’ director of participant personnel — so the reacquisition of Brown likely comes as very little shock to them as Belichick embarks on a person of the most critical offseasons in his 21 several years in New England.
The wants are even now abundant, with quarterback, extensive receiver, restricted close and defensive line headlining the record. But if you are likely to start out a multilayered rebuild, it by no means hurts to start off on the offensive line. The O-line to a football team is what a foundation is to a residence in advance of you can start out decorating, very best to make positive anything is on strong ground.
Beginning guard Joe Thuney is expected to be an unrestricted free agent, but Brown’s return opens a plethora of choices for the Patriots, who usually hire a “ideal 5” philosophy to get their leading linemen on the industry no matter of place.
Brown can engage in left or proper deal with. He’ll be a starter at a person of those spots and is an elite player when nutritious and determined.
Veteran Shaq Mason is locked at proper guard.
And 2020 sixth-spherical decide on Mike Onwenu has presently verified to be a best-5 player, so he can be slotted at left guard or right deal with (my hunch would be left guard to substitute Thuney, which is an evident blow to the Patriots, but enables them to reallocate revenue to other positions of increased will need).
In a perfect Patriots world, heart-and-soul foundational piece David Andrews will return at centre. He’s a free agent and the team’s initial offer you did not entice Andrews to signal, which displays you will find get the job done to be finished to make a return happen.
And the final signature piece is 2018 very first-round select Isaiah Wynn, a top rated-5 lineman whose most significant struggle has been staying wholesome. His top suits are left tackle, and then left guard.
The Patriots often examine unique O-line configurations in teaching camp, so you will find time to see how it shakes out. A much more quick roster-developing concern will be no matter if veteran correct deal with Marcus Cannon, who opted out of the 2020 year, is a likely slice prospect (preserving about $6.3 million).
Depth will also be essential.
Backup/swing places at deal with will be vied for by Cannon, 2020 sixth-round select Justin Herron, fourth-yr player Korey Cunningham and 2019 3rd-round decide Yodny Cajuste. Marcus Martin, Najee Toran and Ross Reynolds are the present inside backups.
O-line chatter normally doesn’t go the needle. It will not likely sizzle like the signing of a prime quarterback, vast receiver or tight stop.
But Tremendous Bowl LV proved its relevance, and in that perception, the Patriots’ 2021 offseason is off to a good commence.