David Andrews

NFL Contract Details: Rookies, Andrews, Shepard

Normally, the details of rookie contract signings don’t draw much note from the media. Most facets of the rookie contract are not up for negotiation, so by the book numbers don’t tend to interest the NFL world. Lately, though, NFL teams have gotten creative with how they deal with rookie deals, usually rewarding first- and second-round picks with guaranteed money.

Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 noted three second-round picks whose deals were reported recently. New Commanders cornerback Mike Sainristil out of Michigan’s rookie deal will see the base salaries of his 2024 and 2025 seasons fully guaranteed and $897K of $1.5MM guaranteed from his 2026 salary. Dolphins rookie offensive tackle Patrick Paul from Houston will see similar guarantees. All of his base salary for 2024 and 2025 will be guaranteed along with $413K of his 2026 salary worth $1.42MM. Lastly, Cowboys rookie pass rusher out of Western Michigan, Marshawn Kneeland, will see his first two years fully guaranteed, as well. Kneeland will also see $322K of his 2026 base salary (worth a total of $1.42MM) guaranteed.

Here are some other details from recent contracts around the NFL:

  • We recently saw the Patriots grant center David Andrews a raise in a new extension. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe gives us further details on the new contract. He notes that Andrews was guaranteed $1.75MM of his $5MM for 2024. He also reports that the deal will reduce Andrews’ cap impact next year from $8.43MM to $6.68MM.
  • The Buccaneers recently signed former Giants receiver Sterling Shepard to a one-year, $1.38MM deal. Wilson of KPRC2 tells us that Shepard will be able to earn a $50K roster bonus if he’s on the active roster by Week 1 of the season. He’ll also have the opportunity to earn an additional $6,911 per game in active roster bonuses for a potential season total of $117,500.

AFC East Rumors: Patriots OL, Saleh, Milano

With veteran left tackle Trent Brown departing in free agency, the Patriots are looking to fill his old role this offseason. As organized team activities have opened, free agent addition Chukwuma Okorafor has been taking first-team snaps at the position, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.

Okorafor, a former third-round pick for the Steelers, has spent the first six years of his NFL career in Pittsburgh. His first two seasons only saw the Nigerian find starting time as an injury replacement. After Okorafor finished out his rookie contract with two straight seasons as a starter, the Steelers rewarded him with a three-year, $29.25MM extension. After losing his starting job to first-round rookie Broderick Jones last year, though, the Steelers released Okorafor to free agency.

Now in New England, Okorafor will have the opportunity to re-earn a starting job and fill in for the departed Brown. Okorafor’s competition for the job will be Vederian Lowe, who started eight games in injury relief for the Patriots last year, and third-round rookie Caedan Wallace out of Penn State.

In additional offensive line news out of New England OTAs, second-year lineman Atonio Mafi was seen taking snaps at center behind starter David Andrews. Mafi, a former fifth-round pick who converted from defensive line to guard at UCLA, had yet to seen time at center while making five starts at left guard as a rookie. New offensive line coach Scott Peters and assistant offensive line coach Robert Kugler seem to have some interest in expanding his role on the line.

Here are some other rumors coming out of the AFC East:

  • We had reported previously that Jets head coach Robert Saleh had explored the idea of reducing the role of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. This exploration came after the seeing Hackett seemingly lost for options after the loss of starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers early in the season. A more recent report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini claims that Saleh is now taking a deeper role in the offense himself. The former defensive coordinator seems to be keeping a close eye over the shoulder of Hackett as their jobs both heat up in 2024.
  • Long-time Bills starting linebacker Matt Milano missed 12 games after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year. The team is looking to pair Milano back up with last year’s emergent starter Terrel Bernard, but that won’t be happening in OTAs. According to Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN, Milano is on schedule with his recovery, but “it’s probably going to be more closer to training camp until” he sees the field again.

Patriots, David Andrews Agree To Extension

David Andrews will remain in place with New England for at least the next two years. The Patriots’ longtime center has agreed to an extension keeping him on the books through 2025, ESPN’s Field Yates reports.

Yates adds that Andrews will receive $12MM in base compensation between this year and next. He can earn up to $13MM via incentives. This pact – the fourth of his career – will see the former UDFA collect $8MM in guaranteed money.

Andrews was scheduled to earn $5.5MM in 2024, the final year of his $19MM extension signed in 2021. The Georgia alum’s cap hit was set for $8.43MM, a figure which will likely change depending on the structure of this agreement. Andrews has served as New England’s starter at center for all but five regular season and playoff games in his rookie season, totaling 127 starts across his career to date. He will carry on in his current capacity with another multi-year agreement in hand.

Today’s Patriots investment comes not long after Andrews admitted to contemplating his future this offseason. The 31-year-old said in a press conference that he committed to continuing his career for 2024 (h/t ESPN’s Mike Reiss). Considering New England’s decision to add another year to his existing pact, the chances are high Andrews could continue playing through 2025 if he remains healthy.

Andrews has managed to play over 1,000 snaps four times in his career, including the 2023 campaign. His run blocking remained strong with respect to PFF evaluation, but his pass protection took a notable step back compared to recent seasons. He was charged with six sacks and 30 pressures allowed, which resulted in a career-worst PFF grade of 51.2 in that department. A rebound this season would be welcomed by team and player.

New England has committed to retaining a number of in-house players this offseason. Along the offensive line, that effort has seen tackle/guard Michael Onwenu sign a three-year, $57MM deal, one which will keep him at the RT spot moving forward. Questions are in place regarding the Patriots’ blindside protection with free agent addition Chukwuma Okorafor the likely left tackle starter as things stand. Regardless of what happens on that front, Andrews will continue as a mainstay in the middle.

AFC East Notes: Hyde, Wilson, Patriots

Bills safety Micah Hyde was expected to miss the rest of the season while he continued to recover from his neck injury. As Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic writes, there could be a glimmer of hope that Hyde is back on the field during the 2022 season.

Hyde’s recent neck surgery helped eliminate the lingering pain that the veteran had been dealing with, and the safety has been active with the Bills for the past month. This includes work (alongside other inactive players) with the strength and conditioning staff, with Buscaglia writing that the safety was spotted running drills with injured members of the 53-man roster. Hyde later told the reporter that he’s taking his rehab one day at a time, but he left the door open for a return this season.

“I would love to. I would love to. We’ll see,” Hyde said. “It’s not really up to me. It’s kind of up to the doctors. Historically, no. But I’m not dealing with… those are other people, other situations. So, we’ll see what happens.”

At the very least, it’s encouraging that Hyde didn’t definitively reject the idea of a 2022 return. Now in his sixth season in Buffalo, it wouldn’t be shocking if the veteran makes a push to play as the Bills pursue a Super Bowl ring.

Some more notes out of the AFC East…

  • Despite Zach Wilson‘s disastrous Week 11 performance (and, later, his inability to take responsibility for the loss to the Patriots), the Jets continue to support the now-benched quarterback, with Robert Saleh previously indicating that this isn’t the end of the former first-round pick’s career in New York. Following the fallout from Wilson’s post-game presser, the QB still needed to win back his locker room. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Wilson apologized to teammates for his post-game remarks, and while he supported fill-in Mike White, the quarterback also made it clear that he’ll be back under center before long. “It was the only thing I could think of the last couple of days,” Wilson said (via Cimini). “I wanted the opportunity to talk to those guys and really make it from the heart.”
  • Speaking of Wilson’s Jets teammates, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Jets players have been concerned about their starting QB’s performance for some time. Whether Wilson’s struggles were mental or fundamental, Rapoport notes that the organization hope Wilson’s mental break will help the QB both for this season and beyond.
  • Some good news on the injury front for the Patriots. Center David Andrews suffered what was thought to be a serious thigh injury during New England’s win over the Jets in Week 11, but Rapoport tweets that the lineman escaped a serious injury and could return for the end of the season or the playoffs. Jeff Howe of The Athletic adds (on Twitter) that while there’s no clear timeline on Andrews’ return, the veteran will do everything in his power to get back on the field.
  • The Patriots saved a chunk of money recently. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter), the Patriots reworked safety Cody Davis‘ contract. The move saved the organization about $250K against the cap. The veteran inked a two-year, $4.5MM deal with the Patriots prior to the 2021 season and is set to hit free agency following the 2022 campaign.

Patriots OL David Andrews, Isaiah Wynn To Miss Time

New England’s interior offensive line took some hits in today’s win over the Jets. Both starting center David Andrews and left guard Isaiah Wynn left today’s game with injuries that could force the Patriots to reconfigure their men upfront for the remainder of the year.

Andrews has been the longtime center in New England since signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2015. While he’s missed his fair share of games in the past with injuries, a seven-game season would easily be a career-low for the 30-year-old out of Georgia. Andrews left today’s game with a thigh injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. He’ll undergo more testing to determine the severity of the injury, but the Patriots are reportedly not expecting good news as they fear the injury may end his season.

Wynn has also been a consistent starting presence on the Patriots offensive line since being selected in the first-round four years ago. Wynn was originally intended to contribute as a tackle but was moved inside in 2020 and has continued in that role this season. Wynn is, unfortunately, a bit more accustomed to missing extended periods of time than Andrews. Wynn tore his Achilles tendon in 2018, forcing him to miss his entire rookie season. He spent stretches of time on injured reserve in each of the following two seasons for a toe injury and a knee injury. Wynn left today’s game “with a foot injury,” according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, and could also miss extended time due to the ailment. He, too, will undergo further testing in order to determine the extent of the injury.

Rookie Cole Strange is expected to fill in for Wynn during any time he may miss. The two have been jostling in recent weeks for a starting spot, despite both holding starting roles for most of the season. With Wynn out, New England will have little choice but to let Strange take the opportunity. Andrew’s backup is James Ferentz, who started at center for each of the past two games that Andrews has missed lately.

These injuries seem to pile onto similar blows to the team’s offensive line this season. Andrews could be joining Chasen Hines and Marcus Cannon on IR, and, even if Wynn doesn’t get assigned to IR, he may be sitting out like Andrew Stueber has done recently due to injury.

Before today’s win over their division-opponents, the Patriots were fourth in the AFC East. They now sit at third with a 6-4 record, one win behind current division leaders Miami (7-3) and Buffalo (7-3). The injuries will certainly make it difficult for New England to stay in what has turned into a very intriguing division race.

Matthew Stafford Cleared For Week 11 Return

The Rams were on the losing end of an all-backup quarterback battle last week, but they are set to have their starter available under center on Sunday. Matthew Stafford has been removed from the team’s injury report and is in line to play against the Saints.

Stafford had missed Los Angeles’ loss to the Cardinals in Week 10 due to a concussion. He made steady progress in recent days, though, lining him up to be cleared in time for Sunday’s game. The Rams turned to backup John Wolford in Stafford’s absence, with the exception of a handful of snaps given to rookie Bryce Perkins.

Stafford being back at the helm will be a welcomed sight, despite that fact that his second season with the Rams has not gone as smoothly as his first. The 34-year-old has an 8:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio (after throwing five in the first two games, and one in three consecutive contests between Weeks 4 and 6) while averaging 46 fewer passing yards per game than 2021.

Overall, the Rams rank 17th in the league in that regard, as they have struggled mightily on offense. The run game has fared even worse, of course, but a healthy Stafford could especially be needed moving forward given the fact the the team’s most consistent contributor is now out of the picture.

Cooper Kupp‘s high ankle sprain required surgery and has landed him on IR, leaving him sidelined for at least four games. With the Rams sitting at 3-6, that has led to questions about whether the the reigning Offensive Player of the Year will see the field again in 2022. An offensive resurgence will be needed to bring the team back into playoff contention.

Stafford – who like Kupp and Aaron Donald signed a big-ticket extension this offseason – entered the campaign with concerns over his throwing elbow, though the more significant concern has become the offensive line in front of him. On that note, ESPN’s Sarah Barshop reports that neither guard David Andrews nor center Brian Allen will be available against the Saints (Twitter links). That will induce even more alterations to the injury-ravaged unit, while the Rams look to end their three-game skid with the No. 1 QB back in the fold.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/29/22

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed: DL Tomasi Laulile

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Signed as a UDFA shortly after the draft, Mevis fared rather poorly in a Thursday workout. The rookie kicker missed badly on three warmup kicks, one of which drilling ex-Cowboys HC Dave Campo (of Hard Knocks 2002 fame), per ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco. Mevis had struggled during the start of Jaguars camp. This is Fry’s seventh NFL team since he entered the league in 2019. The workout-circuit regular has played in three regular-season games — one-offs with the Falcons, Bengals and Chiefs. The Jags also have kicker Ryan Santoso on their roster.

A hamstring injury, sustained during a workout shortly after a flight to Green Bay, sidelined Watkins for the start of Packers camp. The veteran will try to shake a well-earned injury-prone label in Green Bay, though the former top-five pick’s roster spot may not be 100% secure. Andrews, who returned in 2020 after missing all of the 2019 season due to blood clots, underwent offseason shoulder surgery. He is back for a seventh season as the Patriots’ starting center.

Patriots Place Five Players On PUP

The Patriots placed a long list of players on the physically unable to perform list today. Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Twitter, New England placed center David Andrews, cornerback Jonathan Jones, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, safety Jabrill Peppers, and running back James White on PUP. The players are able to return to practice at any time, but they’ll be watching from the sideline until they’re officially activated.

Jones is still rehabbing a shoulder injury that limited him to only six games in 2021, while Andrews is recovering from his own shoulder surgery. White was limited to only three games last season thanks to a hip issue, and it sounds like the injury is lingering into this year’s training camp. Peppers and McMillan are both returning from ACL injuries.

White is one of the most veteran players on the Patriots roster, and in an ideal world, the running back would serve as a pass-catching safety blanket for Mac Jones. Between the 2016 and 2019 campaign, White averaged 68.8 catches and 950 yards from scrimmage per season. Now 30, this injury could spell the beginning of the end for White, and with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson requiring carries (plus rookie fourth-round pick Pierre Strong Jr.), it’s hard to really see a role for White even if he’s healthy.

Andrews is also one of the longest-tenured Patriots players, having appeared in 89 games across seven seasons with the organization (including a 2019 campaign that he missed due to a pulmonary embolism). Despite the 2021 season being Andrews’ age-30 season, he still proved he was one of the best centers in the NFL, with Pro Football Focus ranking him fifth among 39 eligible centers.

McMillan joined the Patriots last offseason, but he tore his ACL in August and missed the entire season. Peppers, a former first-round pick, spent the past three seasons with the Giants. He collected 29 tackles and one sack in six games before suffering a torn ACL in October. Jones has spent his entire six-year career in New England, starting 27 games (including 21 starts between 2018 and 2020). He collected 20 tackles and three passes defended in six games last season.

AFC Notes: Bush, Granson, Andrews

Expectations were sky-high for Devin Bush when the Steelers traded up to select him in the first round of the 2019 draft. Things haven’t gone according to plan in the past two years in particular, leading to the team’s decision to decline his fifth-year option earlier this offseason.

That has led many to believe 2022 will be his final year in Pittsburgh. While the upcoming season could prove to be a critical turning point, he will still have a starting role in the middle of the team’s defense. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic notes that Bush will be a member of the first-team unit alongside free agent addition Myles Jack (subscription required).

The Michigan alum is no stranger to significant playing time, having started all but one of his games in the NFL. He will look to rebound from a disappointing 2021 campaign, where he made 41 solo tackles and allowed a passer rating of nearly 103 in coverage. Behind him and Jack at the position, the Steelers have veteran Robert Spillane and 2021 fourth-rounder Buddy Johnson available in the event of injuries or poor play.

Here are a couple of other notes from the AFC:

  • Facing a serious cap crunch, the Patriots re-worked the contract of center David Andrews last month. The move created some breathing room for the 2022 season, dropping his cap number from $6.375MM down to $4.275MM. In a breakdown of the other changes brought on by the restructure, ESPN’s Mike Reiss notes (on Twitter) that his cap figure in 2023 and 2024 will jump from $5.875MM to $7.175MM and $7.425MM, respectively. The 30-year-old is coming off of another solid season in 2021, earning a PFF grade of 78, and figures to reman an anchor on New England’s o-line for the foreseeable future.
  • The Colts will have a new player atop the tight end depth chart this season. The retirement of Jack Doyle has left Mo Alie-Cox as the No. 1 at the position in Indianapolis. While the 28-year-old is likely to eclipse his single-season career high of 394 yards with the increased workload, another incumbent could see an uptick on usage. 2021 fourth-rounder Kylen Granson “should be given every opportunity” to become a full-time contributor in the team’s offense, writes FOX59’s Mike Chappell. He made just 11 catches as a rookie, and will be competing with Alie-Cox and rookies Jelani Woods and Drew Ogletree for targets. Still, he could take on a notable receiving role in particular within Frank Reich‘s TE-friendly scheme with a strong training camp.

Pats Restructure David Andrews’ Contract

The NFL team that currently holds the smallest amount of salary cap space for the 2022 season completed a move today in order to provide a little bit of breathing room. ESPN’s Field Yates reported today that the Patriots restructured the contract of veteran center David Andrews, granting them a bit of cap space for the upcoming season. 

Andrews went undrafted in 2015, signing with New England as a free agent. Due to injuries to then-starting center Bryan Stork and backup Ryan Wendell, Andrews impressed in ample playing time during the preseason and earned the starting spot for Week 1 of his rookie season. He eventually ceded the position to his healthy teammates, but beat out Stork in an offseason competition for the starting job the following season.

Andrews has gone on to hold down the center position as a full-time starter for the past six years, excluding the 2019 season that saw him miss the entire year due to a pulmonary embolism. He did miss four games in the season immediately following 2019, but proved his health last year by playing 98.6% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps, with the next closest lineman being Shaq Mason who was on the field for 86.5% of New England’s offensive snaps.

After Andrews had completed his first season as a full-time starter in 2016, he and the Patriots agreed to a three-year, $9MM contract extension. After playing out that contract to become a free agent last offseason, Andrews decided to re-sign with New England on a four-year, $19MM deal.

The restructuring completed today reportedly creates $2.1MM in cap space for the 2022 season by converting $3.15MM of compensation into a signing bonus. Andrews’ contract will now hold a cap hit of $4.28MM for the upcoming season as the Patriots look to regain supremacy atop the AFC East.