By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- The Patriots have reportedly reacquired Trent Brown, a massive addition to the team's offensive line. Adding a behemoth like Brown will give Bill Belichick plenty of options along the line in 2021.
All of New England is well aware of just how giant of a human being Trent Brown is. The 6-foot-8, 380-pound offensive lineman started every game for New England's Super Bowl-winning team in 2018, playing a big part in New England morphing from their air-attack approach to a ground-and-pound offense. Brown was awesome in 2018, and earned himself a gigantic $66-million contract from the Oakland Raiders that offseason.
Now he's back in New England after an up-and-down run with the Raiders, and after reportedly reworking his deal with the Patriots, he'll once again be playing for a new contract. His colossus frame and versatility on the line will play a big part in New England bouncing back on the offensive side of the ball this season.
The biggest factor of an improved offense obviously lies in what the Patriots do at quarterback this offseason. But Brown gives Bill Belichick and company a lot of options going forward when it comes to opening up holes for running backs and protecting -- as well as giving a little more time -- to whoever is tossing the pigskin.
Brown protected Tom Brady's blind side throughout the 2018 season, but he's played right tackle every other year of his career. He earned a Pro Bowl nod at right tackle during his first season with the Raiders. The Patriots could use Brown on the right side and keep Isaiah Wynn on the left at tackle, with Brown representing some more injury protection should Wynn go down during the 2021 season. That could make Marcus Cannon expendable, and if the Pats move on from the veteran right tackle, it would save New England another $6.3 million toward the salary cap.
Brown's addition could also allow the Patriots to move Wynn to left guard if (or rather, when) Joe Thuney departs via free agency this offseason. Thuney played last season on the franchise tag, and will likely cash in on the open market this offseason, leaving a void at guard. The trickle down effect of Brown's addition could help plug that hole.
At the moment, here's how the New England offensive line could look heading into next season: Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown at tackle, Shaq Mason and Mike Onwenu at guard, and David Andrews at center. Andrews is a free agent, but he feels like the kind of guy Belichick would do anything to re-sign. Cannon could figure into the mix somehow, likely on a reworked deal, with Jermaine Eluemunor and Justin Herron as backups along with any other additions Belichick may make this offseason.
The 27-year-old Brown does carry some injury concerns himself. He played only 16 games during his two-year run with the Raiders, and just five games in 2020. And though he enjoyed the best year of his career in New England, he did so under the tutelage of Dante Scarnecchia. Scar is now enjoying retirement, unless the Patriots can convince the 73-year-old to come out of retirement for the 300th time.
But there is no doubt that reacquiring Brown is a huge pickup for the Patriots. Belichick is building from the line out, and New England should once again have one of the best offensive lines in 2021. That will be a big help to whomever is throwing the football for the Patriots.
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