Josh McDaniels is cruisin’ for a Bill Belichick bruisin’, huh? After poaching multiple assistants from the New England Patriots once he left for the Las Vegas Raiders, the former offensive coordinator is now swiping players.
On Wednesday shortly after free agency officially opened, the Raiders signed veteran running back Brandon Bolden after he logged a career season with New England in 2021.
Bolden finished with 226 rushing yards (5.1 yards per carry) and a career-high 405 receiving yards on 41 receptions as he became an integral piece of the offense after James White was lost for the year with a hip injury.
It’s unclear how aggressive the Patriots were in trying to retain the 32-year-old, but many fans felt he was likely to stay with Damien Harris hitting free agency after 2022 as well as the uncertainty surrounding White’s health.
Brandon Bolden is now a Las Vegas Raider and the Patriots can’t be happy.
This will be just Bolden’s second career season outside of New England. He’s spent eight years with the franchise since 2012 with a single year in Miami back in 2018 as his only change of scenery.
But the Patriots’ thinnest backfield in a few years (thanks to injuries, not actual personnel) perhaps unleashed his potential under McDaniels’ play calling. And with Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake in Las Vegas, Bolden could provide similar production as he did in Foxborough last season behind Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson.
Despite his contributions, the Patriots don’t have many touches to go around if White indeed returns to full strength and assumes his usual duties. And with JJ Taylor as the fourth option, it’s evident this part of the roster has the necessary firepower to make it through a full season.
That being said, Bolden was way more effective than Taylor, both on offense and on special teams, where the second-year player took a significant step backward. Why not cut Taylor loose if he’s hardly logging any snaps and keep Bolden around for another couple seasons after what he just showed you?
In the end, the Patriots cap situation remains tight. They have just over $13 million to spend with needs along the offensive line and in the secondary/wide receiving corps. A third- or fourth-string running back definitely wasn’t worth the limited cap space available.
We just hope McDaniels cleared this with Belichick first, because another misstep might have Bill going scorched earth when the Pats and Raiders face off in 2022.