1. Sony Michel
The Patriots appear to have their RB of the future in Damien Harris.
We’ve been advocating for Damien Harris to become the Patriots’ No. 1 running back for what feels like ages now, and it seems like the coaching staff has finally taken their Sony Michel blinders off and recognized the sheer talent they have at their disposal in the 2019 third-round pick.
Despite beginning the year on injured reserve, Harris already has three 100-yard games under his belt this season. He also ranks fifth among qualified rushers with an impressive 5.4 yards per carry. With a deadly combination of power, speed and decisiveness, the Alabama product has proven that he has the requisite skillset to excel as a workhorse RB at the professional level.
That makes Michel, who will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2021, incredibly expendable. It brings us no joy admitting that, but that’s simply the reality of things. Not only has the former Georgia standout regressed from an efficiency standpoint after his promising rookie season — he averaged a lousy 3.7 yards per attempt on 247 carries in 2019 — but his injury concerns have only grown more alarming.
After hardly featuring in training camp following offseason foot surgery, Michel went back on the shelf after Week 3 with a quad injury that has sidelined him for the last seven games. With his injury history in mind, the third-year pro’s chances of lasting beyond camp next year will likely come down to whether Harris stays healthy for the rest of the season.
If he manages to do so and continues to impress, the Patriots should think long and hard about cutting ties with their 2018 first-round selection. There’s simply no need to even approach paying Michel.