The New England Patriots bolstered their offensive tackle depth on Tuesday, signing veteran free agent Calvin Anderson to a reported two-year contract. Anderson, 26, brings experience and some positional flexibility to the table but it remains to be seen whether or not this will allow him to make the team.
For the time being, though, let’s take a closer look at him and what he adds to the equation.
Name: Calvin Anderson
Position: Offensive tackle
Opening day age: 27
Size: 6-foot-5, 300 pounds
Contract status: Under contract through 2024 (2025 UFA)
Despite coming off a productive college career that saw him serve as a starting left tackle at both Rice and Texas, Anderson did not hear his name called in the 2019 NFL Draft. He did find a home a short time later, though, signing a free agent deal with the Patriots. His stint with the club lasted but two weeks: New England waived him in late May, and he found his way to the New York Jets via waivers. Anderson spent four months in New York, but was eventually poached off the Jets’ practice squad early into his rookie regular season.
The team picking him up was the Denver Broncos, and the move turned out to be a good one for Anderson. Despite not seeing any playing time in his first year with the club, he ended up spending four seasons in Denver. Along the way, he saw action in 41 games as a reserve option at the left and right tackle positions. In this capacity, he started 12 total games — two in 2020, three in 2021, and seven in 2022 — and prompted the Broncos to twice keep him from heading to free agency.
What is his projected role in New England? The Patriots’ offensive tackle position is currently one big question mark. While starting left tackle Trent Brown is under contract for one more year, the right-side job appears to be up for grabs. Anderson might be competing for it against Conor McDermott, Andrew Stueber and any potential additional signings. Of course, given his career so far, he also might have value as a third/swing tackle.
Does he have positional versatility? When it comes to playing the offensive tackle position, Anderson indeed offers some versatility. Of the 743 offensive snaps he played in his four-year career, 671 came at left tackle (90.3%) with 72 at right tackle (9.7%) and one solitary snap as a sixth extra lineman. In addition, he played some left guard during his rookie preseason with the Jets in 2019.
What is his special teams value? Just like virtually every other offensive lineman, Anderson’s kicking game value is limited to blocking on field goal and extra point attempts. He has served a both a left and a right end over the course of his career, playing a total of 160 snaps in the game’s third phase.
What does it mean for New England’s salary cap? While the full terms of Anderson’s deal with the Patriots are not yet known, the expectation is that it will not leave too big a mark on New England’s books. While he does have some starter-level experience and is still relatively young, he was primarily a backup player during his four seasons with the Broncos.
What does it mean for New England’s draft outlook? Nothing, really. Offensive tackle still remains arguably the No. 1 need for the team to address and doing so in the draft makes sense. The Patriots picking one of the top OTs available is still on the table, even with Anderson joining the Patriots now.
One-sentence verdict: While not a splash signing, Anderson adds some quality depth and starter-level experience at a position of need.
Instant grade: B
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