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Falcons free agency rumors: Atlanta linked to Patriots OL David Andrews

The veteran center would be a huge get for Atlanta, but will they have the money to pry him away?

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

The Falcons just watched Alex Mack sign with the 49ers, and one of the core focuses of their offseason will be solving a couple of lingering questions along the offensive line. The first is left guard, where they cut James Carpenter and are currently set to pit Matt Gono and Willie Wright against one another for the starting job. The other spot is center, where Matt Hennessy is the heir apparent, but may or may not be a player the new regime is counting on to start at a critical position.

Enter David Andrews. The steady veteran has been a terrific center for the Patriots the past few seasons, even if a pulmonary embolism robbed him of his 2019 season and a thumb injury cost him some games in 2020. Andrews, a former undrafted free agent out of Georgia, can probably land himself a nice contract in free agency and appears poised to do so. Center-needy teams, including the Falcons, appear to be showing early interest.

If Atlanta is serious about Andrews, they’re likely working furiously to clear more cap space as we speak. All the room the Falcons freed up with Matt Ryan’s max restructure got them just under the cap, and the $2 million pay cut for Tyeler Davison essentially went toward Lee Smith, the blocking tight end they just acquired from Buffalo. That’s an issue because Andrews is not going to be interested in playing for $10 and a case of Diet Coke in 2021. The fact that Green Bay is on here with their major need at center suggests this could turn into a bidding war, and it’s not clear whether Atlanta can or will even try particularly hard to win that.

Andrews would be a nice get, though. He’s mostly been durable, with the scary 2019 ailment being the kind of thing that you simply can’t put on his track record, and he’s a very capable center who will only be 29 years old this year. An Andrews signing would fit in with Arthur Smith’s obvious focus on improving blocking to run his scheme—a focus the Lee Smith trade attests to—and would mean Atlanta could focus on adding affordable competition for Gono and Hennessy at left guard. If they can pull it off, I’m on board.

This would obviously mean Hennessy is not viewed as a slam dunk center by new front office and coaching staff, and that makes sense given that he was a third round pick of the prior regime who didn’t look great in limited action during his rookie season. It’s tough to hold that against him—he yo-yoed in and out of the lineup early in the year at left guard and it was a rough year for rookies in general—but the reported interest in Andrews is a sign they’re not just going to hand him the job and may in fact view him as being in the mix at left guard more than center.

We’ll see what happens here, but if Atlanta’s interest is genuine it suggests there are more moves to come in the near future. Let’s see whether David Andrews ends up back in Georgia.