The New England Patriots have re-signed Leon Washington, according to multiple reports, and it is a move that doesn’t come as a surprise. Washington’s locker was never moved from Gillette Stadium, and he will fill out the Patriots final spot on the 53-man roster ahead of tomorrow’s game. It was interesting to see that the Patriots cut Washington in favor of claiming backup offensive linemen off of waivers, but he is back in the fold now after the Patriots had a vacant roster spot following the cut of offensive lineman Braxston Cave earlier this week.
Leon Washington visited the New York Jets and New York Giants, but neither team will be able to snatch Washington. I’m betting that the Jets and Giants were licking their chops to sign Washington on Monday, because that’s when contracts for veteran players do not become guaranteed. The Patriots were also probably planning on saving a roster spot for Washington to sign him on Monday, but I’m guessing they decided to sign him today for one of two reasons. Maybe they didn’t feel confident and didn’t want to lose Washington to the Jets or Giants, or maybe they wanted an extra running back on the roster quickly in order to play against the Buffalo Bills. Why? Brandon Bolden is listed questionable with a knee injury that he probably sustained before Week 4 of the preseason (against the Giants), and ESPN Boston expects him to be inactive.
But Leon Washington is back on the Patriots now, and he will be resuming his expected role as the Patriots kick-off return. I want to see if it is either Washington or Julian Edelman who returns punts tomorrow, but Washington will have a valuable role in helping to give the Patriots better field position. He also has good hands out of the backfield and can play as an emergency back.
Washington’s signing means that we should expect Bolden to miss tomorrow’s game, and it also means that the Jets lost out on what could have been a fruitful reunion. With this signing, the Patriots now have a full roster, have an experienced and productive returner, and they have more depth at running back if Bolden is out tomorrow. They will have to give Washington guaranteed pay, but they were willing to pay that price.