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5 running backs the Patriots could target in free agency

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By: Matt St. Jean

Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Could the Patriots add a former top-3 pick to their backfield?

Entering 2024, Rhamondre Stevenson and Kevin Harris are the only running backs under contract in New England to record a carry last season. Ezekiel Elliot, the team’s leader rusher, is an unrestricted free agent, and the Patriots may turn to free agency to replace him or add depth at the position.

Here are some options the Patriots can look at.

Saquon Barkley

It’s clear New England’s offense needs a playmaker. That’s what pending free agent Saquon Barkley brings to the table. The former No. 2 overall pick has over 2,800 yards from scrimmage over the past two seasons. When healthy, he’s a workhorse as a runner who can take any carry to the house.

Putting him in a backfield with Rhamondre Stevenson would keep both fresh and allow Alex Van Pelt to draw up a fun run game.

Antonio Gibson

With over 1,200 career receiving yards and 172 receptions, Antonio Gibson has been a good complementary piece as a receiver out of the backfield. You can pretty much count on him for 40 catches and 300 yards as a receiving back. In that role, he would be an affordable complement to Stevenson.

D’Andre Swift

Swift set a career high in rushing yards in 2023, passing the 1,000-yard mark for the first time. A former second-round pick, Swift spent three seasons with the Lions before being traded to Philadelphia. At just 25 years old, Swift is a young free agent who could still have room to grow.

Tony Pollard

The Patriots found success in a former Cowboy in the backfield last season. Could they do it again? Pollard recorded consecutive seasons with over 1,000 yards on the ground and over 300 through the air, showcasing his dual-threat ability. With the Cowboys not expected to franchise-tag him, Tony Pollard could add a second strong presence in New England’s backfield.

Damien Harris

We already know that Harris and Stevenson can be a very successful duo. Harris left for the Buffalo Bills last season, but he only rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown before a neck injury ended his season prematurely. He could be an affordable option for the Patriots this offseason.

Other names on the market

Derrick Henry, Austin Ekeler, Josh Jacobs, A.J. Dillon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Originally posted on Pats Pulpit