New England Patriots News: Danny Woodhead sounds like he wants to stay

New England Patriots all-purpose running back Danny Woodhead enjoyed a very successful 2012 season by once again making an impact as both a rusher and receiver. Woodhead is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and the Patriots have a difficult decision to make regarding Woodhead. While he is a key player in the offense, the Pats might not have enough money to spend on Woodhead given the other key players set to hit free agency. Aqib Talib, Wes Welker, and Sebastian Vollmer will all command large contracts, and Julian Edelman and a few other defensive players are also set to hit the open market.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Woodhead will likely be retained, but that depends on how much money he wants. With Jeff Demps coming into the team next season and Shane Vereen already in place as a game-changing receiver out of the backfield, Woodhead’s importance has decreased as far as value per necessity of the position goes. The Patriots are already very deep at the running back position and while Vereen and Woodhead aren’t as similar as people think, Vereen could feasibly replace Woodhead’s role.

But it doesn’t sound like Woodhead will “price” himself out of the Patriots range, especially given what he said to the Boston Herald. Although he said he hasn’t thought about free agency yet, he was more vocal on his feelings about the New England Patriots organization. Woodhead said, ”I feel like the coaching staff is obviously one of the best, if not the best, in the league,” Woodhead said. ”Playing for coach (Bill) Belichick is obviously awesome. He’s unbelievable. I’ve got a lot of great friends. The last three years have been fun. I’ve really enjoyed playing. I really enjoy being a Patriot.”

It sounds like Danny Woodhead wants to stay with the Patriots, and I’m sure the Pats will want to keep him. He’s an extremely clutch running back, provides value as a pass blocker, is the kind of player coaches and teammates love to have in the locker room (fans obviously love him as well), is one of the best receiving backs in the NFL, was the highest graded Patriots running back per PFF, and he is also a solid rusher who can get the needed yardage in some tough situations.

Woodhead scored seven touchdowns this past season and had 35 total receptions. Schematically, Woodhead’s presence is of high importance as he is the team’s “no-huddle” back. That’s one of the background reasons that will lead to Woodhead staying, and it sounds like he is willing to sign a team-friendly deal to stay in New England. That’s just what it seems like early on as anything could happen. But it also sounds like- based on what I’ve been reading on ESPN Boston and other Boston media outlets- the Patriots are willing to re-sign their fan favorite RB.

This piece goes into detail with reasons for and against re-signing Danny Woodhead. Yes, this is self-promotion since I wrote the piece, but it’s more in-depth and could be worth reading.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

Topics: Danny Woodhead, New England Patriots

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  • Celia Westbrook

    I’m saying right now: I want Woodhead!

    Come on… he’s a great RB and reliable. I think that Woodhead is Brady’s RB go-to as much as Welker is Brady’s WR go-to.

    I don’t think the Patriots has really explored Woodhead as much as I would like to see. Yes, Jeff Demps is in the roster, but we don’t know how he’s going to be in the field. Woodhead has his heart and soul in the field, and 95% of the times, he will get the downs we need.
    Letting him go would be just as the same as the Dolphins did when they let Welker walk.

  • James Cameron

    Other than his
    receiving in ’11, he’s been reliable. He had a game winning 30 yd TD
    called back on a questionable touchy call by the replacement refs
    against the Cardinals, so his YPC could have been 4.3 this year. In 2010
    he was the most efficient back in the league (5.6 YPC) under 100
    carries (97) in rushing DVOR AND combined rushing and receiving DVOR.
    2011 was an average season overall, but he played well in the SB
    loss. This year; a little above average running the ball and an
    efficient option catching it. IMHO Vereen is the better downfield threat
    as a receiver & is a better option to be lined up on deeper WR type
    patterns. That’s important if Gronk isn’t in the game. Woody’s
    probably a little better than SV on shorter catches in the
    flat and wheel routes. DW’s probably a little better as a runner and pass blocker at
    this point. Even with all Vereen’s upside & Ridley being a capable
    workhorse the Pats should resign Woody. The Pats use a platoon and DW has a unique skill set. It shouldn’t hurt them cap wise
    too much to get a deal done.

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