The Green Bay Packers extended center Corey Linsley 3 years for $25.5 million, or an average of $8.5 million per season, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. I’m a huge fan of Linsley and believed him to be one of the top center prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft and now he’s the ninth-highest paid center in the NFL.
The Packers timed the contract so they could prorate the signing bonus over four seasons, including 2017, to reduce his cap hit, making it effectively a 4-year, $27.3 million deal, which is still the eleventh-most per year in the league.
Linsley is a great, young player with a lot of upside. He’s now also making almost as much money every season as New England Patriots center David Andrews will be earning over the next three seasons.
See, Andrews signed a 3-year, $9 million extension with the Patriots prior to the 2017 season and prior to Andrews ascension to one of the top centers in the entire NFL. Andrews is head-and-shoulders better than Linsley, is younger than Linsley, is a team captain, and is going to be playing for peanuts over the next three seasons.
Andrews had a few weaknesses heading into this year and he’s fixed most of the. He had previously struggled against heavier nose tackles; he has no problem moving them out of the way in the run game. He had problems with bull rushes in the passing game; he’s now holding his own and keeping Tom Brady clean. He had issues with his agility and blocking linebackers at the second level; he’s now one of the better down-field blockers in the league.
This is not to say that the Packers are getting a bad deal- they’re actually getting a really good deal, especially with how they timed it to include 2017 cap space- but to show how Andrews is going to be considered one of the more undervalued players in the NFL and how he could be deserving of a Rob Gronkowski- or Patrick Chung-esque contract adjustment that would allow him to make more money.
Andrews is the 16th-highest paid center in the NFL and is likely to fall into the 20s as a few starting centers hit free agency and make more than the Patriots pivot. There’s no question that Andrews is playing under a bargain contract- and he’ll have three more years to emphasize how much of a steal he really is.