The New England Patriots’ list of unrestricted free agents this offseason was a long one, but few players on it had the same level of pedigree as David Andrews. The Patriots’ starting center since 2016, the former undrafted rookie turned into a steady contributor on the field and one of the most important members of the team off it.
Retaining him had to be a priority, and while it looked as if Andrews was headed elsewhere at one point in the process the Patriots eventually succeeded in keeping him in the fold. The 28-year-old was retained on a four-year, $18.9 million contract extension.
Judged by his statements during a recent one-on-one with former New England quarterback and current broadcaster Scott Zolak, Andrews appears to be happy with his decision to re-sign.
“We’re definitely excited, me and my wife,” he said during the interview. “This is our home, our heart’s here. Excited to get back and to go to work. Obviously, a lot of new faces coming in, and we got the rookies coming in. So, excited to get back and meet everybody and get this train rolling.”
Andrews will play a pivotal role in helping those new faces get acclimated to the Patriots’ system. One of four team captains brought back in free agency alongside quarterback Cam Newton, running back James White and defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, the six-year veteran is a cornerstone of the organization due to his role as the starting center and one of the most respected voices within the locker room.
Not counting the in-house free agents re-signed, New England added 13 players from outside the organization over the last two weeks. More will follow over the coming weeks and especially on draft weekend.
Players such as Andrews will help them fit in, and it seems as if he himself embraces the challenges that lie ahead — and feels confident in the direction of the franchise.
“I think it’s definitely the start of turning this thing around,” he said. “Part of the reason why I wanted to come back is to right this ship and get it to where we need to be going. But it’s all kind of said and done if we don’t really put the work in, and go back there and get this thing rolling, build on it and just become the best team that we can be.”
The Patriots were not that in 2020, finishing with a 7-9 record. Being the most aggressive team in free agency, however, they improved the overall talent level on their roster across the board and filled most of their major holes.
Keeping Andrews around was a key part of that.