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Andrews' situation is relatively independent of the rest of the Patriots' offensive line, being a center and all. But the Cannon trade frees up added space for the Patriots to potentially re-sign their starting center and team captain. It comes down to whether or not the Patriots are willing to pay him close to the top of the market at the position - think $10 million per season. Andrews should have some interest around the league if he hits free agency, so the Patriots will have to be competitive to keep him.

Patriots center David Andrews is on track to become an unrestricted free agent in March. So while Andrews expressed a strong interest in staying with New England, he’s keeping all of his options open ahead of next month.

Andrews recently did an “Ask Me Anything” with his Instagram followers and was asked, point-blank, if he wanted to stay in New England. He answered: “We would love to stay. New England is our home”, and added “But we are up for anything.”

Coming off his age-28 season, Andrews made $3 million and should be in line for a raise on his next contract. He started 12 games for the Patriots in 2020, after missing all of 2019 to recover from blood clots. He missed three games after undergoing surgery to repair a broken thumb, then sat out the season finale with a calf injury.

You can see a screenshot of Andrews’ Instagram story below via The Camera Guys from NBC Sports Boston.

The Patriots would have to pay Andrews a base salary of $6.5 million just for him to crack the top-10 at his position. His recent health and injury issues may have depressed his price tag a bit. But this is also the first time Andrews will hit the open market. Either way, he’s still looking at a nice pay bump from his first two contracts with the Patriots.

If Bill Belichick doesn’t lock up Andrews early, he’ll be betting that Andrews’ market won’t be strong enough to convince him to leave New England. It would not be the first time the Patriots allowed a top internal free agent to explore free agency before ultimately re-signing.

MORE: Retaining David Andrews Should Be Priority For Patriots

With or without Andrews, the Patriots’ top priority remains finding the next starting quarterback. And they need to do that first if they want to attract high-end weapons in free agency.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays.

You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.

MORE: Patriots’ Top Internal Free Agents