New England Patriots rumors: Ted Karras earning a contract extension

New England Patriots center Ted Karras (67) Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots center Ted Karras (67) Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s time for the New England Patriots to extend interior offensive line star Ted Karras‘ contract, as he has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt how valuable he is to the team.

It’s been a constant theme in this space that incomprehensible coaching decisions concerning their offensive line have cost the Patriots losses in the first seven games of the 2021 season.

There’s little doubt of that fact. Now, after finally implementing a sound strategy by re-deploying Michael Onwenu to right tackle and inserting Ted Karras into the front five, things are clicking.

The New England Patriots should re-sign Ted Karras to an extension, now

Ted Karras returned to the New England Patriots this offseason in one of their most astute moves in free agency.

He is a top backup or starter at not one but two positions (guard and center) increasing his value exponentially and saving a game-day roster spot to boot. That’s a nice move if you use him.

Karras was finally inserted into the Patriots’ starting lineup after injuries and woeful play by two other substitutes made it visible even to the Patriots’ coaching staff that he was the best option.

And, lo and behold, good things happened. The Patriots’ pass protection became almost instantaneously better with Onwenu at right tackle and Karras at guard.

The sacks were fewer, sensational rookie quarterback Mac Jones had time to pass, and the running game got a new lease on life.

The solution was staring the Patriots’ coaching staff in the face all along. They finally got the message just in the nick of time before the season was wrecked entirely.

And Karras is one of the main reasons. This guy is a baller. He can play both guard and center equally effectively, though with David Andrews manning the center spot, he’s not needed there.

Don’t believe in his versatility? How about he started 16 games last season for the Miami Dolphins at center last season as a good indicator.

That Dolphins team went 10-6. This season, they are 1-6. Think they miss Karras? They do indeed and the Patriots now finally are reaping the rewards of this good free-agent signing. Very good.

Younger Patriots fans will not remember Karras’ great-uncle, Alex Karras. Alex was a defensive tackle and one of the best ever. He was a Hall-of-Fame player.

Ted Karras may never be an NFL Hall-of-Fame guy, but he’s a top offensive lineman in the NFL right now, and should be appreciated big-time for what he contributes to the New England Patriots.

Trained under perhaps the greatest offensive line coach of his generation if not all-time, Dante Scarnecchia, Karras must make “Scar” proud every time he steps onto the field.

Scarnecchia is an NFL Hall of Famer in performance if not yet in reality. It says here unequivocally, he should be in the Hall. Karras is one of the many who have benefited from his tutoring.

Karras was a sixth-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2016. Interestingly enough, Michael Onwenu was also a sixth-rounder in 2020. Of those picks, little is expected.

Although, at times sixth-rounder like Karras, Onwenu, and a certain Tom Brady can work out quite well. That’s especially true if you know enough to keep them around (but that’s another story).

Yet, Karras has learned well and he has blossomed into a starting-caliber NFL guard and center.  The Patriots should move now to sign Karras, who is still only 28 years old, to a new contract.

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Karras is only on a one-year deal. A four or five-year extension would be a nice neighborhood and perhaps if the team moves now, they can get somewhat of a “hometown discount” for the player.

Yet, since the player personnel moves of this team are often obtuse, I somehow don’t expect this to eventuate now. Do you?

But hopefully, eventually, it will, and the sooner, the better. It would be a sound investment in the most important unit of the team, the offensive line. And a non-move would surely be offensive.