Talking about the strength of the New England Patriots’ offensive line depth, as it currently stands, is a bit of a delicate proposition. After all, the team dressed six lineman last week against the Redskins and finished with just five.
Nonetheless, after news broke that the Patriots had extended the contract of Josh Kline for two years through 2017, it really highlighted the depth and youth of the Patriots interior offensive line in 2016 and beyond.
At two years and a maximum of $4.9 million, Kline is slated to be making less than Ryan Wendell did on his last contract. What’s crazy is that, if you don’t count Marcus Cannon, he is also set to be the team’s highest paid interior lineman in 2016. Kline has played at a high level in 2015 – but the eventual hope would be that Shaq Mason and Tre Jackson develop to the point that they can be counted on full time.
If Wendell, who is currently on injured reserve and has a contract that expires after the year, departs after the season, the Patriots’ interior line will also be ridiculously young. Kline would be the elder statesman of the group at age 25. Bryan Stork is 24 and David Andrews turned 23 over the summer. The two rookie guards, Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason, are just 22. That’s an average age of just 23.2 for the team’s top five interior linemen for 2016.
Here’s the full breakdown of the Patriots’ interior line by contract year (note: I’ve included Cannon, who is more of a tackle at this point, but has the flexibility to slide inside):
Signed through 2015
Ryan Wendell (injured reserve)
Signed through 2016
Signed through 2017
Signed through 2018