In his first year with the Patriots, and first year as a left tackle, Trent Brown was a stalwart on the offensive line.
Going into last year’s offseason, left tackle was a major concern, as longtime blindside blocker Nate Solder had departed to the New York Giants via free agency. Solder, the only left tackle to block for Brady besides Matt Light, left a huge void when he left.
New England spent the 23rd overall pick of the 2018 Draft in order to acquire Isaiah Wynn, a tackle who can play guard, from the University of Georgia, and a few picks later selected one of the running backs he blocked for, Sony Michel.
Brown was acquired from the 49ers the next day in order to bolster the offensive line. After Wynn tore his Achilles in a preseason game, Brown was thrust into the starting left tackle spot with little to no competition.
This season wasn’t a coming out party for Brown. The 6-foot-8 left tackle has been praised as a quick blocker despite his behemoth size. He was even labeled as the best right tackle in the league a few years ago by All-Pro pass-rusher Von Miller. Brown’s size and natural talent, combined with the genius of Patriots’ offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, created a natural blindside blocker for Tom Brady.
Coming off of his stellar season, Brown is scheduled to become a free agent and earn a big payday. Based off how important of a position left tackle is, one can imagine that a lot of teams will be interested in Brown. Just 25-years old, Brown still has his best football ahead of him.
While the price tag might be a little steep, there is no price you can put on Brady’s safety.
Multiple options are on the board for Brown.
The Pats could give him a short-term, incentive-laden deal to keep him around for another season or two. The team could also franchise tag him to keep him as insurance in case Wynn is not ready for the 2019 season.
A majority of the cause for resigning Brown will be the health of Wynn. Unfortunately, an Achilles injury is an incredibly devastating injury that affects one’s spring and maneuverability, two key traits for an offensive lineman. After the injury, Wynn could never be the same player again. Only time will tell for how the young athlete responds to the catastrophic injury.
Brady’s safety is the main reason for re-signing Brown, but another reason would be the candidates who would step in behind him. Right now, Marcus Cannon is the starting right tackle. Cannon could play left tackle, but he is 30 years old and already comfortable on the right side. LaAdrian Waddle was the third tackle that New England carried for game days, and isn’t a particularly good option bookending either side of the line for the Patriots.
Even if Brown left, the Patriots offensive line would be in good shape. The interior offensive line, consisting of left guard Joe Thuney, center David Andrews, and right guard Shaq Mason, creates one of the best, and youngest, interior lines in the league.
Keeping Brown for another year or two would be the icing on the cake for this offensive line, which was the most important position group of New England’s 2018 Super Bowl run.
If Wynn returns at full health, he could step in and provide the first-round talent that New England expected when they drafted him. The risk, however, of Wynn having lost a step and making games tough for Brady could be too much to gamble on.
Regardless of where Brown ends up, he has a bright future ahead of him. The tackle has proven that he can play on the left and right side, and has no problem with run-blocking or pass-protection. Bill Belichick and the front office would be wise to do everything they can to retain the large blocker.
Even though any player can be replaced in the New England system, the talent and work ethic displayed by Brown throughout the season showed that he is a strong follower and believer of the Patriot Way.