The Falcons have clearly been thinking about upgrading their offensive line for a while now. As I noted the other day while arguing that the line would be a draft priority—my stance on that has not changed at all, by the way—Matt Hennessy, Matt Gono and Willie Wright at currently the only three options on the roster for the center and left guard jobs, a situation the team was unlikely to roll into the season with.
Atlanta was linked to Patriots center David Andrews but would’ve had to come up with an unrealistic amount of money to ultimately land him, so they turned their eyes to another Andrews who plays on the interior of the offensive line. That’d be Josh Andrews, who has been in the league since 2014 and is coming off of a 15 game, 4 start 2020 season with the Jets.
Happy to announce that my client Josh Andrews (C/G, Oregon State) has agreed to terms with the Falcons on a 1-year deal with guaranteed money. 7-year vet had multiple offers but looks forward to bringing his experience and versatility to Atlanta.— Brett Tessler (@TesslerSports) March 29, 2021
Andrews, who will be 30 when the season starts, fits like a glove with all the other free agents the Falcons have signed this offseason. He’s joining up on a one year deal, he has long experience as a reserve, and he’s affordable, all things Terry Fontenot and company have been prioritizing with limited cap space and an immediate need to shore up the roster for 2020. As is the case with many of the players the Falcons have signed this offseason, Andrews looks like a reserve on paper but could push his way into a starting job if others falter.
It’s less likely in his case than with, say, Erik Harris at safety and Fabian Moreau at cornerback. Andrews just got his first starting experience a year ago at guard with the Jets, starting four games while playing 31% of the team’s offensive snaps and, for the grain of salt it’s worth, grading out at a poor 41.2 per Pro Football Focus. Before that, he had 25 games of experience split between the Eagles and Colts, all as a reserve on the interior. He’ll likely slot in as a reserve option behind whoever ends up starting at guard and center—Matt Hennessy is still the favorite right now at center and Gono is at guard, though the draft will bring in reinforcements—and will probably need injuries or a catastrophic summer from someone else to get more than that. We’ll see what he brings to the table for Atlanta next year.
As mentioned, the Falcons are probably not done adding to their line. Assuming Andrews is someone the team likes as depth, they currently have seven offensive linemen under contract and will want legitimate starting competition for at least one spot along the line, and could add one more veteran free agent to the mix before the draft with the money they just saved on the Deion Jones contract restructure.