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.
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.
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