Rex Burkhead Brings Versatility, Starting Potential To Patriots' Backfield

According to a Monday morning report from Field Yates of ESPN, former Cincinnati Bengals' running back and current unrestricted free agent Rex Burkhead began his week at Gillette Stadium so it appears.

Burkhead, originally a sixth-round pick of the Bengals in 2013, spent three seasons in Cincinnati, rushing for a total of 375 yards while scoring three touchdowns. He caught 17 passes for 145 yards last fall, hauling in 85 percent of the passes that came his way. Burkhead's addition bolsters the depth at a position that features the likes of James White and Dion Lewis. He ran for 346 yards and a robust 4.6 yards per carry despite playing in a crowded backfield that also included Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. LeGarrette Blount is still a free agent, as is Brandon Bolden. He also has 27 special teams tackles, including consecutive double digit tackle seasons with 11 in 2015 and 12 in 2016. Burkhead hasn't showed off the skills of a No. 1 back, but his ability to create space and move the chains makes him a valuable situational player.

Lewis and Burkhead could split early-down work and work at the goal line, and remember that Blount led the National Football League with 18 rushing touchdowns previous year to go with 299 carries for 1,161 yards. Most likely, Burkhead will be part of a committee with Lewis and White. But Burkhead may not be the only running back New England adds this offseason.

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The Patriots remained busy on Tuesday by adding a running back.

This is primarily a special teams signing.

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  • Lawrence Cooper