The New England Patriots are one of the most successful sports franchises in history, having won a record thirteen consecutive NFL championships. One of the keys to their success has been their ability to get value for their players at the NFL trade deadline. Since the 1970s, the Patriots have always been able to find a taker for their aging stars, using a handful of different ploys designed to get the best possible deal.
The latest example of this is former All-Pro offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi. After spending the 2017 season as a backup on the Patriots’ offensive line, the club decided not to extend his contract for an 11th season. Andruzzi, who was born and raised in Boston, eventually signed with the Los Angeles Chargers, playing only one game before injuring his knee. He will miss the rest of the season, at least.
The Patriots have a long tradition of getting the most value out of their Super Bowl winning team. So, it is only natural that many NFL fans will be closely following their latest trade for Joe Andruzzi.
What Is The Purpose Of The Trade?
In the days leading up to the 2018 NFL trade deadline, the Patriots traded for two offensive linemen: Joe Andruzzi and Ted Larsen. Like many veteran NFL players, both Andruzzi and Larsen are approaching the twilight of their careers, with many wondering if the trade was made to get them to restructure their contracts for more youthful talent. Or perhaps, the club sees such deals as beneficial for negotiating with potential free agents.
While the reasoning behind the trade may not be pure age discrimination, there is definitely an element of that involved. The Patriots will feature several young starters on their offensive line, and while they may not have the experience of their older counterparts, their arrival in the NFL will no doubt help the team on the field.
How Did the Patriots Get The Most Out Of Larsen And Andruzzi?
Even at 33 years old, Ted Larsen is still one of the best offensive linemen available; he is arguably the best right-handed guard in the NFL. The Patriots got their hands on him at a discounted rate in a trade with the Chicago Bears back in 2015. He started every game he played for the Patriots over the past two seasons, earning a spot on the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot.
As good as Larsen is, the former Bear has only started nine games since 2015, which is a far cry from the 16 he started in his first two seasons in New England. The key to the Patriots’ getting the most out of Larsen has been their willingness to trade for big name players who can start for them, as the Bears were only willing to include him in the trade because they perceived him as a backup.
The Patriots made a similar move with Joe Andruzzi, acquiring him at the 2018 NFL trade deadline from the Miami Dolphins. Like Larsen, Andruzzi was signed to be a starter in New England but has started only five games in his career, despite earning three All-Pro nods during his time with the Dolphins. Andruzzi played left tackle for the Patriots in 2016 but has since shifted to the offensive guard position. While he may not be the star the Dolphins were hoping for, they received a steady, veteran presence in the trenches.
Value In The NFL
As noted above, the Patriots have a long history of getting the most value out of their Super Bowl winning squad. One of the biggest reasons for this is the franchise’s ability to evaluate talent and determine how much it is actually worth. The information-gathering process involved in evaluating players is far more advanced in the NFL than it is in other sports. Scouts travel around the world to gather as much information as possible about potential new players, while statistical analysts take this data and crunch numbers to determine a player’s value. The value of a specific player is then determined by comparing his projected output to his cost (in terms of money and/or resources, such as draft picks).
The Patriots have the ability to determine how much each member of their roster is worth and know how to get the most value out of their players, which makes their offense that much more dangerous. This is the main reason why many NFL fans will be keeping a close eye on the team’s trade activities, hoping that they can find an underdog team that the Patriots will destroy in the postseason.
Where Will These Guys Play?
The Patriots’ front office has decided that Joe Andruzzi and Ted Larsen will both play offensive guard for the team, as they don’t have a true starting left tackle on their roster. This is a huge step forward for both players, as it means they will get a significant amount of playing time this season. While they may not start the majority of the games, these players are still vital to the success of the Patriots’ offense.
Larsen will play on the right side of the line, while Andruzzi will line up next to him on the left. Andruzzi is more of a natural guard, while Larsen is a classic tackle. The line will therefore feature two players with drastically different skill sets, which should help push the offense forward.
The Future Of These Two
The outlook for Joe Andruzzi and Ted Larsen is very positive. Both players have a lot of football left in them and should continue to contribute at a high level for the Patriots for many years. Furthermore, New England may finally have a line that can sustain high level play for a full season, especially with the help of these two veterans. While these guys may not be household names, their value to the team cannot be understated.