While the New England Patriots will retain left guard Joe Thuney after placing the franchise tag on him, another member of their starting offensive line from a year ago will leave the organization in free agency: as first reported by The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, center Ted Karras has agreed to sign a one-year, $4 million contract with the Miami Dolphins — making him the second Patriot to join their AFC East rivals this offseason after linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Karras originally joined the Patriots as a sixth-round draft selection in 2016, and for the first three years of his career served as a versatile and valuable depth option along the team’s interior offensive line — one that earned a pair of Super Bowl rings along the way. In 2019, however, he was elevated to a starting role after center David Andrews was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs and subsequently placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Karras went on to 16 games in place of Andrews — missing one because of a sprained MCL — and did an admirable job at the heart of the Patriots’ offense. With Andrews expected to return to the field in 2020, and with New England already investing considerable resources in both Thuney and right guard Shaq Mason, however, the writing was on the wall for the 27-year-old to leave the only NFL team he ever played for in free agency.
The Dolphins picking up Karras at a cost of $4 million per year, adds him to the Patriots’ growing list of players that will factor into next year’s compensatory draft calculations: quarterback Tom Brady will likely yield New England the highest selection — No. 97 in the third round — with both the aforementioned Van Noy and fellow linebacker Jamie Collins also expected to bring either third- or fourth-round selections to their ex-team.