The New England Patriots have a heated battle at the center position this year, with both David Andrews and Bryan Stork trying to win the starting job. An opportunity has arisen that head coach Bill Belichick might want to capitalize upon that would ship one of these centers out west to Chicago.
“After losing starting center Hroniss Grasu to a torn ACL early in camp, the Bears turned to veteran Ted Larsen as the most likely replacement for him,” NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports. “But Larsen could have some competition from the outside, because sources have told NFL Media that the team has spoken to a few other organizations about possible trades for a veteran center.”
Now the odds of the Patriots trading either Andrews or Stork were far greater prior to Sunday’s meltdown that included reports of serious injuries to Shaq Mason and Sebastian Vollmer, but Belichick has always thought about the big picture. He has traded away the likes of Richard Seymour and Logan Mankins, even though the team could have used them both for the regular season, because it yielded a nice draft pick or opened up salary cap space.
And while Andrews and Stork are still on their rookie contracts and are cheap options, the Patriots have been preparing for a possible departure by asking Josh Kline and Ted Karras to practice their snapping ability at center.
I’ll be upfront and say that I don’t believe the Patriots would send either center to the Bears at this point in time, there are a couple reasons to believe that Belichick- and the Bears- would be open to a trade.
First, both teams just had joint practices so the Bears brass had a front row seat at how both Stork and Andrews approach practice. The Patriots are not strangers to trading for players they saw during these joint practice events, and it would make sense that the Bears would prefer a player they had seen up close, versus acquiring someone they have not met.
Second, wouldn’t it be the most Belichick trade ever to flip an undrafted player like Andrews for a nice return? Or keep Andrews over the more expensive Stork, and move Stork for assets? The Bears are pretty deep at linebacker, so maybe the Patriots would be interested in an exchange? Or maybe for a mid-round draft pick swap, or a late round option?
Now, to restate, I don’t think the Patriots should trade- or will trade- either Andrews or Stork. Andrews is the expected starter, while Stork can back-up every position on the line (at various levels of success). But Belichick would never hang up on a trade offer without hearing the full idea.
And if the price is right, who knows what could happen?