With the 2016 NFL draft only a few days away, the New England Patriots are in a unique situation. While most teams are preparing for the first round, the Patriots no longer have a first-round pick because of the NFL’s Deflategate penalties. Regardless, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has made excellent draft picks in the later rounds over his tenure in New England. While the Patriots will most likely have an above-average draft, the biggest move could come in free agency. Even though he is still unsigned, the latest rumors are saying that former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster could join the Patriots.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Foster has been linked to the Patriots for over a month. After visiting the Miami Dolphins and leaving without a contract, news has been fairly quiet regarding Foster and his future. Foster will turn 30-years-old in August, so he is not exactly young for a running back. In addition to his age, Foster is becoming more and more prone to injuries as the years go on. Regardless of his age and injury concerns, Foster is still an extremely productive running back when healthy.
While Foster still has hopes of becoming an every-down running back with his next team, he may have to take on a reduced role, and the New England Patriots might be the perfect team for his services. In recent seasons, Belichick has rarely committed to one running back. While he has been known to feature a particular running back for a game, or two, he has generally not been consistent. Limiting Foster’s usage could prolong his career and even enhance his production.
Bleacher Report summarizes what Foster could bring to the Patriots.
“Foster has had a great career to this point, but he has missed significant chunks of time over the past few seasons with injuries. But when he’s been healthy, he’s been among the most productive backs in the league year in and year out. Even if he loses a step after this latest injury, it won’t spell the end for him. Speed wasn’t his best asset. He was known for his one-cut running ability, so if he can plant and burst, he will still be an effective back. As a one-cut back, he also had a reputation for great vision and patience in allowing the play to develop, finding the hole and hitting it with conviction. That’s precisely what the Patriots need: a disciplined, hard-nosed, between-the-tackles runner who is also effective on outside runs.”
As a seven-year veteran, Foster would instantly fit in with quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Julian Edelman, and the rest of the Patriots offense. Since Belichick has not given the running back position the attention that it deserves in recent years, Foster could give the Patriots offense an entirely new dynamic.
The Foster situation is actually similar to when the Patriots signed Corey Dillon for the 2004 season. Dillon played most of the 2004 season at 30-years-old, and he had the best year of his career. In addition to rushing for 1,635 yards and 12 touchdowns, Dillon also helped lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl title over the Philadelphia Eagles. While it remains to be seen whether or not Foster can revitalize his career, there is probably no better team than the Patriots to do it with.
Even though Foster’s 2015 season was shortened by injuries, his numbers during the four games that he did play in are concerning. He rushed 63 times for 163 yards and only one touchdown. He added 22 receptions for 227 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans offense was dysfunctional last season, so that could play a factor in Foster’s apparent decline.
EndZoneScore notes that Foster could be a huge help to Brady over his final years.
“Quarterback Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger, and tight end Rob Gronkowski can only do so much. Therefore, the Pats should sign Foster. It would be a match made in heaven.”
The longer Arian Foster remains a free agent, the better the odds that he lands with the New England Patriots. Belichick is a genius at getting productive players for cheap, and Foster might be exactly the guy the Patriots need in 2016.
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