Patriots: Will NE pick up Sony Michel’s 5th-year option?

Patriots RB Sony Michel (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Patriots RB Sony Michel (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

If we had a say in the matter, the New England Patriots’ main objectives this offseason should be finding a new quarterback, a clear-cut No. 1 receiver (same goes for tight end), a game-breaking edge rusher and potentially another linebacker to add to the mix.

That might sound like a steep asking price, but with close to $70 million in projected cap space, the front office should be able to pull it off if they play it smart.

Regardless, free agency will be far from the Patriots’ only priority in the coming months, as they’ll have to address the futures of several players who are inching towards the end of their respective rookie contracts.

It goes without saying that running back Sony Michel falls under this category, and he’s largely split opinions among fans in terms of whether they want the Patriots to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.

If this question was posed in the early stages of the 2020 season, the answer would’ve been a definite no. However, Michel enjoyed a strong finish to the campaign, so where could the Patriots possibly stand on his future?

Will the Patriots pick up Sony Michel’s fifth-year option?

While it can’t be confirmed whether Michel will be with the Patriots after next season, we like to think that his fifth-year option will be exercised. The former first-round pick’s impressive close to the season just can’t be ignored, and he was quietly one of the offense’s most efficient players over the final three weeks while breakout star Damien Harris was sidelined with an ankle injury.

During that stretch, Michel took 36 carries for 219 yards (6.1 YPC). Though that was undoubtedly his best string of performances, he was largely prolific for the entire year when he was on the field, averaging 5.7 yards per attempt over 79 rushes.

That obviously isn’t a large sample size, but the 26-year-old showcased an acceleration and decisiveness between the tackles this season that we hadn’t seen since his rookie year in 2018.

Would it have been nice to see Michel stay healthy for the entire season? No doubt, but when you pair his promising third year with the fact that Harris has also been prone to injury early in his career the Patriots simply cannot afford to not have the former Georgia star as a part of their offense.

Especially not until Harris can prove that he’s capable of handling a big workload without missing time due to injury.

We’re not saying that Michel doesn’t still have something to prove, but he probably showed enough in 2020 to justify the Patriots picking up his fifth-year option. After all, it’s very much in the realm of possibility that injuries were to blame for his forgettable sophomore season.