After all, they already seemed locked and loaded at the position for next season with the likes of Damien Harris, Sony Michel, James White, Brandon Bolden and JJ Taylor owning roster spots.
However, the Stevenson selection now leaves the door open for somebody in that group to either be released or traded in the coming months.
Why would you use a fourth-round pick on a bruising, versatile running back if you didn’t have immediate plans for him, right?
According to ESPN insider Mike Reiss, it seems like Michel, who just had his fifth-year option declined by the Patriots, is the odds on favorite to be the odd man out.
Seeing as though there isn’t a clearcut role for the 2018 first-round pick, it’s worth speculating if the Patriots would consider trading him before next season.
Could the Patriots consider trading running back Sony Michel?
"“Stevenson, the fourth-round pick from Oklahoma, could threaten Michel for a spot on the game-day roster (and possibly the 53-man roster) because he’s more likely to be a factor on special teams,” Reiss wrote. “This appears to be a spot with quality depth, which the Patriots have needed in recent seasons because of injuries.”"
Michel has been a tremendous servant to the Patriots, but his development has been impeded due to various injuries. The 26-year-old’s injury history dates back to his college days at Georgia, and the front office is clearly pondering whether it’s worth keeping him.
For context, Michael has appeared in all 16 games just once in his career (2019), and that was easily his least productive season. That year, despite ranking 10th in the league in carries, he finished 17th in rushing yards (912) and 40th in yards per carry (3.7).
While the former Bulldog showed an acceleration between the tackles we hadn’t seen before upon returning from injury last season, it might’ve been a case of too little, too late for the Patriots, who shouldn’t feel obligated to keep going back to the Michel well.
If the front office and coaching staff have any real concerns that Michel’s roster spot for next season could be in jeopardy — Stevenson’s adeptness on special teams suggests that’s a real possibility — shouldn’t they try to cash in on him while they still can?
It’s duly noted the Patriots lost any leverage they had by opting against exercising Michel’s fifth-year option, but we’d see nothing wrong with trying to recoup a middle- or late-round draft pick for a player who’s seemingly a real candidate to be cut later on this offseason.
Don’t look now, but New England could have another N’Keal Harry situation on their hands. In other words, they could soon admit defeat on back-to-back first-round picks in the same offseason. Think about how crazy that sounds.
For all of the good that’s been accomplished over the last few months, fans would be hard-pressed to imagine a worse look for the organization.