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Patriots Among Favorites to Sign Top Free Agent RB Saquon Barkley?

By Kevin Tame, Jr.,


If the New England Patriots elect to move on from Damien Harris this offseason, Saquon Barkley could be an attainable option.

FOXBORO — The New England Patriots are almost always mentioned as a potential destination when a big-name wide receiver hits free agency or is on the trade block. But now they are listed as a potential landing spot for a superstar running back.

The Patriots have the fifth-best odds of signing pending free-agent running back Saquon Barkley, according to BetOnline.

The thought of a running back of Barkley's caliber in a Patriots uniform is alluring but is it realistic?

After showing flashes of promise as a rookie, rushing for 606 yards and five touchdowns, Rhamondre Stevenson had a sensational sophomore season. The former Oklahoma running back started the season as the backup to Damien Harris but made the most of his opportunities after Harris missed significant time due to a thigh injury. He finished the season with an impressive 1,040 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns along with 69 receptions out of the backfield and one receiving touchdown.

So how does Barkley fit into the equation?

For starters, Harris is about to be an unrestricted free agent. While it remains unclear if he will be back with the Patriots, the former third-round pick from Alabama is coming off his worst season. He rushed for 462 yards on 106 carries in just 11 games.

Perhaps Stevenson takes full control of the James White role and becomes more of a pass catcher? He certainly has the skill set to catch 90-100 balls like an Austin Ekeler or Christian McCaffrey.

It is also conceivable that Bill O’Brien, who was just hired to be New England’s offensive coordinator next season, would want a big-time running back in his offense. In his seven seasons as the Texans' head coach from 2014-2020, O’Brien had some marquee players at running back such as Arian Foster and Lamar Miller.

It remains to be seen whether Barkley will hit free agency. He has stated his desire to remain in New York. However should he become available, Bill Belichick should pick up the phone. A Barkley and Stevenson 1-2 punch could help get the Patriots back to their winning ways.

You can follow Kevin Tame Jr. on Twitter @Kevin_Tame

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