The New England Patriots have a crowded situation at the running back position, even though they technically had a two-for-two at the position this offseason after losing Danny Woodhead and Jeff Demps but gaining Leon Washington and LeGarrette Blount. Although Washington doesn’t figure to get carries and is going to be the Patriots star specialist, Demps was in the same boat. Meanwhile, Shane Vereen is Danny Woodhead’s natural replacement, so it looks like we are headed for a battle between second-year bruising RB Brandon Bolden and Blount, who was acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Demps and one of the Patriots four seventh-round picks.
Blount and Bolden will be an interesting training camp battle to watch for, and Bolden will have to show a lot of what he showed against the Buffalo Bills early in the season in order to beat out a former 1,000-yard rusher. While I’ve always been a fan of Bolden’s, Blount is somebody I am really high on. He’s a lot more agile than people think, and I feel like Blount doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his pure rushing ability. It seemed like Greg Schiano and the Bucs were far too low on Blount, even if he is mediocre at best as a pass-catcher and is an awful pass protector.
Bolden has youth on his side and has been with the Patriots for a year before, and those advantages put Bolden in a relatively solid spot despite his four-game suspension last season for PEDs. If he can show what he showed through the first-half of the year, then the Patriots will likely keep him. That is, of course, if Blount doesn’t impress Ivan Fears, Josh McDaniels, and Bill Belichick.
ESPN Boston’s Field Yates did an excellent job detailing the Patriots draft picks last year, as well as four undrafted free agents. When writing about Bolden, Yates stated, “The feeling here is Bolden will have a chance to earn those carries again in 2013.”
It sounds like Bolden has a very strong chance of making the roster, and I wonder if the Patriots would be willing to keep five running backs on the roster. Bolden runs with a tough style and is actually more of a pure bulldozing back than Blount is, and that’s likely a reason why Belichick would like him.
The New England Patriots gave wide receiver Julian Edelman a very team-friendly deal this offseason, but that was to be expected given Edelman’s severe lack of interest around the league. Only the New York Giants showed tangible interest in Edelman, and they dismissed him following a workout. Edelman has earned the tag of an injury-prone player, as he broke his hand and his foot last season. The good news is that if Edelman is healthy, he should have a high impact on the Patriots as a versatile wide receiver with some new-found playmaking ability due to improved long speed.
However, Edelman already suffered from a setback on the foot he broke in November, and the Patriots have thus modified Edelman’s contract, per Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe. Per the Globe, most of Edelman’s workout bonuses are now roster bonuses due to the injury, because it would be unfair to Edelman. His re-aggravated foot injury means that Edelman cannot work out in OTAs and likely minicamp, and it will be interesting to see if he is healthy for the start of training camp. The Patriots have thus allocated Edelman’s workout bonus into a roster bonus that will take into effect next season, and let’s hope that Edelman can make this even more of a win-win for himself and the Pats by staying healthy in 2013.
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