The New England Patriots waited more than 27 hours, but they have finally done it: they signed an outside free agent this week.
The player in question is offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, who spent the majority of his four-year career with the Denver Broncos. The 26-year-old is reportedly signing a two-year contract with the Patriots, but any further details are not known at this point in time.
What does the move mean from a New England perspective based on the information we have available, though? Let’s find out.
New England addresses its biggest need, sort of. Offensive tackle was the No. 1 need for the Patriots entering free agency, and adding Anderson to the equation addresses it to a degree. After all, he bolsters the group whose depth chart now looks like this:
- Left tackle: Trent Brown, Calvin Anderson
- Right tackle: Conor McDermott, Andrew Stueber
Brown and McDermott are the projected starters at the moment. However, it would not be a surprise to see some additional movement either in the coming days, or in the draft at the latest.
Even with Anderson in the fold, after all, the position is a major need. Trent Brown is entering a contract year, while no proven option has emerged to fill the starting spot opposite him. Maybe Anderson, Conor McDermott or sophomore Andrew Stueber will be that guy, but the longer-term future at the position would still be uncertain.
As a result, OT remains high up on the free agency/draft wish list.
The Patriots add a potential swing tackle... Anderson has appeared in 41 games over the course of his career, including 12 as a starter: he started two games in 2020, three in 2021, and finally seven in 2022. With the exception of his first start, which saw him align at the right tackle spot, all of them came at the left tackle position.
Despite a majority of his snaps coming on the left side, Anderson has some potential as a swing tackle: he saw plenty of action on either end of the line in preseason. Additionally, he also has a bit of experience at guard.
...and an effective pass blocker, at least according to one metric. Anderson might not be a household name even in Denver, but he looked good in limited opportunities last season. According to ESPN analyst Seth Walder, he had a 91-percent pass-block win rate during the 2022 season — 21st out of 64 qualifying tackles.
Pro Football Focus was not quite as kind, meanwhile. While he actually had a hire effectiveness (95.6), he ranked only 69th among 89 qualifying tackles.
The signing will be factored into the compensatory draft picks formula. As with all free agent pickups and losses that happen naturally — i.e. wire expiring contract and not release — Anderson will also impact the Patriots’ compensatory draft picks. That said, it seems unlikely that his deal will make too big an impact if even qualifying.
So far, New England has one such free agent for 2024: wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who signed a three-year, $33 million deal in Las Vegas.
The in-house free agent offensive tackles remain unaccounted for. The Patriots have three offensive tackles on their list of free agents, and there has not been any movement on that front so far: Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon are both still headed for unrestricted free agency, with restricted free agent Yodny Cajuste not yet tendered.
New England is getting a second look at Anderson. Anderson originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent pickup by the Patriots in 2019, but he lasted only two weeks. His first stint came to an end when he was released alongside UDFA wide receiver Xavier Ubosi; the two rookies were let go to make place on the roster for veteran OT Jared Veldheer and veteran WR Dontrelle Inman.
Neither of the two had any staying power, though. While Inman requested his release three months later, Veldheer retired after only eight days with the club (only to un-retire and get released later that year).
How would you grade the Patriots signing OT Calvin Anderson?
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