After losing Joe Thuney early during the legal tampering period, fellow offensive lineman David Andrews remained as possibly the New England Patriots’ biggest in-house free agent. But while all signs seemed to point towards him leaving the team as well, he eventually ended his first ever trip to the open market by returning to the Patriots on a new four-year contract.
Turns out, that contract is quite a bargain for New England. As was reported on Saturday afternoon, Andrews’ deal has a total value of just under $18.9 million and does not exceed a salary cap hit of $5.9 million in any year. All in all, according to Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan, it can be broken down as follows:
C David Andrews: Four years, $18.875 million
- Salary: $14 million
- Signing bonus: $3.375 million
- Roster bonuses: $1.5 million
- Cap numbers: $1.75 million (2021), $5,375 million (2022), $5.875 million (2023), $5.875 million (2024)
While Andrews’ deal will run over four years, the Patriots will have a relatively easy out following its second season. With his signing bonus comparatively small at just $1.5 million prorated over four years (i.e. $375,000 per season), and with no salary guarantee beyond 2022, his cap savings in comparison to the dead money charge would be minimal. And that is not the only positive for New England.
As noted above, Andrews’ salary cap numbers are also relatively small throughout the duration of his deal. this is especially noteworthy given that cap is expected to rise significantly beginning in 2023: with the league having signed a new multi-billion dollar broadcast deal, his cap hits of $5.875 million in 2023 and 2024 will be even more of a bargain — possibly not forcing the team to take the out described above.
For a more comprehensive breakdown, please take a look at this graphic.
All in all, Andrews signed a very team friendly deal to return to New England — one reflecting his desire to stay put even as other clubs such as the Miami Dolphins were aggressively pursuing him. In the end, the Patriots can therefore feel very good about how the 28-year-old’s first free agency experience went.
How did the long-time team captain, who is one of the best centers in football, turn into such a bargain? Him entering free agency with the hopes of coming back certainly could have played a role in this, as might have his medical history: while Andrews did play 12 of 16 games during the 2020 season, he is not even two years removed from an entire campaign missed following the discovery of blood clots in his lungs.
This in combination his somewhat advanced age — he will turn 29 in July — may all have contributed to this development. However, the Patriots and Andrews can certainly feel good about the outcome: he will spend at least the next two years in New England as well, while the club will keep a veteran member of its O-line. A classic win-win.