What Will The Patriots’ Offensive Line Look Like In 2021?

It is safe to say that the New England Patriots were not satisfied with their 7-9 record this past season. After 19 straight seasons of having a winning record, Bill Belichick and company were unable to keep that streak going in 2020.

Some of that result it has to do without having quarterback Tom Brady under center, but there were also plenty of other issues. The front seven wasn’t as stout as it once was, their skill positions lacked a lot of offensive firepower, and their pass rush was almost nonexistent at times.But with that all being said, there were some bright spots.

The secondary was solid yet again. Running back Damien Harris was impressive when given his first real opportunity, and the offensive line was one of the team’s strengths. That is despite the front battling injury after injury throughout the season.

Typically when it comes to the New England Patriots, their offensive line consistently ranks towards the top of the league. But unfortunately in 2020, left tackle Isaiah Wynn went down with an injury and right tackle Marcus Cannon opted before the season.

That left holes at times, but the combination of Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, and rookie Michael Onwenu had the Pats in solid position all season long. Sadly for Patriots fans, that offensive line may look a little different in 2021.

This offseason, the Patriots have two starters across the o-line slated to hit free agency: center David Andrews and guard Joe Thuney. Both of whom have been the model of consistency during their time in New England: specifically Thuney.

With that being the case, the Patriots will go into the offseason with two open spots across the line: one at left guard, and one center.

Wynn will presumably be back and healthy, Mason is penciled in at right guard, and either Cannon or Onwenu will suit up at right tackle. Still, there is a chance that New England moves on from Cannon. He was nothing special back in 2019, and he will be going into 2021 at 33-years-old after missing an entire season.

If that happens, it would leave the Patriots with three viable starters across the line. Now, New England does have the cap space to go into free agency and sign back both Thuney and Andrews. But more than likely, Thuney will be off their roster next season.

Thuney’s play has turned him into one of the more valuable guards in the league He will have plenty of suitors coming to him on the open market.

And with the Patriots already paying the Mason a decent chunk of change to play guard- a position that can be replaced more easily than say a tackle- it is hard to imagine they fork over more dough to Thuney. That is especially true given that Michael Onwenu’s natural position is at guard, and that the Patriots could use that money elsewhere to fill other needs across the roster.

But even if Thuney is gone, that doesn’t mean that Belichick and the Pats will let Andrews walk. His price shouldn’t be too outrageous, and he has been a leader across New England’s front ever since taking over the starting center job in his rookie season of 2017.

In all likelihood, their line will consist of something like this:

LT: Wynn, LG: Onwenu, C: Andrews, RG: Mason, RT: Cannon / free agent / draft pick

So all in all, they are still in a good position even if Thuney goes. Onwenu was a revelation as a rookie, posting an 84.3 overall grade according to Pro Football Focus. That was good enough for Onwenu to be ranked as the 8th overall tackle in the entire league in 2020. Now imagine if they moved him to his natural position of guard: he could be even better.

But even if the o-line is shaken up a little bit, it will be fine at the end of the day. The Patriots are consistently able to draft and develop offensive lineman. Even if those lineman are taken in the later rounds- Cannon (5th), Mason (4th), Onwenu (6th)- or undrafted like the aforementioned Andrews, New England can create a formidable offensive line. That won’t change in 2021.

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– Jarrod Ribaudo (@jarrod_ribaudo on Twitter)

Featured image courtesy of Twitter / @PFF_Patriots

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