Andrew Norwell – Guard
26 years old (2014 undrafted free agent – Carolina Panthers)
2017 Stats (Carolina Panthers): 16 games played/16 games started – First-team All-Pro
Contract: 5-years, $62.5 million ($12.5 million/year)
After being an undrafted free agent in 2014, Andrew Norwell has become one of the best guards in the NFL. The former Ohio State Buckeye started nine games as a rookie,13 games in his second season and 32 of 32 games during the past two seasons.
The Bills have a hole at right guard and Richie Incognito, while coming off a Pro-Bowl season, is aging and in the last year of his deal at age 34. With the potential of a new quarterback coming in, it would be beneficial for the team to look at the long-term future of the offensive line.
Norwell should step in and be the starting left guard because he and Dion Dawkins will be the future of the franchise quarterback’s blind side. Incognito can then flip to the right side of the line, fixing the hole at right guard and allowing the team to take someone and develop them for a season.
With the addition of Norwell, the team gets an excellent run and pass blocker. Imagining the team does draft a franchise quarterback in April, they need to protect their investment. In order to help take the pressure off of a young QB, the team will need a boost from the run game. Norwell could help in both areas, protecting LeSean McCoy and whomever is under center.
One factor that could also influence the team into signing Norwell is he comes from the Carolina Panthers organization. Bills GM Brandon Beane would have been heavily involved in bringing Norwell into the organization with his previous position in the Panthers organization.
In order to acquire Norwell, the team will have to pay up. Offering him a five-year deal will get him to his age-31 season. Giving the 6-foot-6, 326 pound guard $12.5 million a year will make him the highest paid guard in the league and the centerpiece of the Bills offensive line.