NFL Trade Rumors: New England Patriots Extend Running Back Rhamondre Stevenson

The New England Patriots have found an offensive piece they believe is worth investing in. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Patriots have reached an agreement on a four-year, $36 million extension with running back Rhamondre Stevenson that will tie him to the team through the 2028 season.

Stevenson joined the Patriots as the 120th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. At 6'1" and 231 lbs, Stevenson is the rare big-bodied, punishing inside runner who is equally adept as a pass catcher: his 69 receptions in 2022 even led the team.

Stevenson is coming off a down 2023 in which he missed five games and posted career lows in yards per carry (4.0) and yards per target (4.7), so the fact that the Patriots are investing so heavily in him comes as a bit of a surprise. Teams are increasingly reluctant to spend at running back; just look at recent contracts signed by stars like Austin Ekeler (two years, $8.43 million with the Washington Commanders) and Derrick Henry (two years, $16 million with the Baltimore Ravens). Stevenson hasn't been close to the calibre of those players, but given that he's only 26 years old and possesses such an unusual combination of skills, the Patriots must believe his best days are ahead of him.

Still, it's hard to imagine there was all that much worth salvaging from last year's Patriots offense. They finished with an NFL-worst 13.9 points per game, and their 29 turnovers were sixth most in the league. Ownership was brave enough to cut ties with long-time head coach Bill Belichick this offseason, but they've been hesitant to truly clean house: They promoted in-house defensive coordinator Jerod Mayo to take Belichick's place, and the only outside free agent they signed to even remotely significant money was Washington Commanders quarterback Jacoby Brissett (one year, $8 million), who the Patriots drafted in the third round back in 2016.

The Patriots have to be careful not to overestimate themselves. Emphasizing continuity only works when the foundation is in place. The reality is they're 29-38 since 2021, and they've been a mostly ineffective offense ever since Tom Brady left town. Stevenson has been on the field for a huge portion of those struggles. He may not be the problem, but he certainly isn't the solution. If the Patriots know what's good for them, they'll recognize that their offense needs a near-total retooling. Hopefully, Stevenson can be a part of that. 

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