When the dust settled, however, either the player they wanted was scooped up or it was all just a smokescreen to throw off other teams.
As things stand, the Patriots have Sony Michel, Damien Harris, James White (who re-signed this offseason), and 2020 opt out Brandon Bolden under contract for next season.
You also can’t forget about JJ Taylor, who signed as an undrafted free agent and appeared in six games as a rookie.
That’s the embodiment of a crowded backfield. However, given how much the Patriots value roster continuity, could they consider a potential reunion with Rex Burkhead?
The longtime fan favorite is a free agent and was a real candidate to be re-signed this offseason before a season-ending knee injury derailed any chances of that happening. However, he recently took to Instagram to showcase the progress he’s made over the last few months.
Could the Patriots consider re-signing Rex Burkhead after his injury update?
We’d love Burkhead back in New England as much as the next fan, but would it really be smart of the Patriots to add a sixth (!) running back to the mix, let alone a soon-to-be 31-year-old who has a ton of mileage on his legs and is coming off a major knee injury? Probably not.
On the flip side, you could also argue that Burkhead was one of the team’s most productive offensive players before he went down. In 10 games, the former sixth-round pick totaled 466 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns on a whopping 5.9 yards per touch.
While most of the passing game struggled mightily, Burkhead emerged as a reliable target out of the backfield for Cam Newton, who clearly trusted him in big moments. For context, the nine-year pro racked up 25 catches for 192 yards and three touchdowns through the air, the latter of which ranked first on the team.
As impressive as those numbers are, it’s still difficult to make an argument for the Patriots to bring Burkhead back. Though he’s further along in his rehab than we expected at this point, we’d like to think they signed enough offensive weapons in free agency to justify passing on him.
With that being said, however, Burkhead should rank at the top of New England’s contingency plan list in the event that one of Michel, Harris or White suffered an injury. Given the backfield’s inability to stay healthy in recent years, we wouldn’t entirely rule out a reunion just yet.