The New England Patriots may very well lose running back Shane Vereen this offseason, as it has been reported that a number of teams, including the New York Giants, are interested in Vereen. And while that would suck, I never thought retaining Vereen should have been a priority, and I guarantee the Pats will be just fine without him.
Could acquiring Roy Helu be part of their backup plan? It’s certainly possible, and according to Kevin Duffy of masslive.com, New England has shown interest:
"In possible need of a third-down back, the New England Patriots have interest in Redskins running back Roy Helu, a source said Monday.The 6-foot, 216-pound Helu caught 42 passes for 477 yards this past year. His 11.4 yards per reception average was the best of any running back in NFL (stats are based on qualifiers who averaged more than 1.875 receptions per game). Helu also averaged 5.4 yards per carry."
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If all things were equal, obviously I would rather have Vereen back next year. He knows the offense, he has shown that he can produce out of the backfield, and he was incredibly clutch in the Super Bowl. But as we all know, the NFL is a business, and I’m sure Vereen is looking to cash in right now. Between trying to re-sign Devin McCourty and Darrelle Revis, the Pats don’t have a lot of cash to throw around at other free agents, so going with the cheaper Helu will likely be the better option.
As Duffy mentions, Helu excels catching balls out of the backfield, and with Jonas Gray, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, James White, and Tyler Gaffney all under contract, the Pats won’t need him to do much else.
We will see how this situation plays out, as free agency officially opens later today.