The New England Patriots signed Ezekiel Elliott on Monday. What do their offensive skill players look like after this signing? Is this a move that can propel the Patriots forward enough to make some headway in the loaded AFC? Only time will tell. The team has remade their offense a bit this offseason.
Ezekiel Elliott signed a one-year deal with the team on Monday. The contract can be worth as much as $6 million, so it's certainly a solid deal for the 2016 draft pick who spent his first seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Zeke's tenure in Dallas was hilariously productive. He amassed over 10,000 scrimmage yards and 80 total touchdowns, but his production has fallen off a cliff lately.
He averaged 3.8 yards per carry in 2022, a career low and an indication that he could be hitting the running back wall that virtually every RB hits at some point during their career.
Let's take an aerial look at the New England Patriots' stable of skill players after this addition.
New England Patriots: What does the offense look like after Zeke signing?
Wide receiver: JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas, Tyquan Thornton
This might be the deepest WR core in the NFL, but it currently lacks a top-end pass catcher. Demario Douglas has played out of his mind this offseason, so the exciting rookie could bring something, but the others are average at best, so this room still appears to be a bit of an issue.
Running back: Rhamondre Stevenson, Ezekiel Elliott
On paper, this might be one of the best RB rooms in the entire NFL. Rhamondre Stevenson is going to explode in year three in this offense, and he should get the overwhelming majority of the carries. Elliott is probably going to get a ton of work at the goal line, which could bring Stevenson's touchdown total down quite a bit.
However, if the offensive line can block well enough, this tandem could beat the snot out of opposing defenses, so this could be something to look forward to.
Tight end: Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki
Another encouraging room that the Patriots have on offense is at tight end. The tight end duo of Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki may just be the best in the NFL. Both are insanely athletic tight ends who can have huge roles in the passing game. I'd expect both to get a ton of work in the red zone, which is awesome, as the team's offense completely stalled out inside the 20 yard line last year.
I have a feeling that Mac Jones is going to use both of these players as security blankets in the passing game next year. Perhaps Henry and Gesicki will run a good bit of underneath routes to provide Jones with some quick and easy completions. Both players have the skillset to run after the catch, so this might be the most exciting group on offense.
Where would you rank the New England Patriots' offensive skill players among the AFC?