The New England Patriots’ depth at running back is impressive even after James White retired. It could seemingly open the door to the franchise considering a Damien Harris trade if the right offer comes along.
Harris, the 87th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, is coming off a career-best season in New England. Despite missing two games and being kept on the sidelines at times by a hamstring injury, he was extremely productive as New England’s primary runner in 2021.
- Damien Harris stats (2021): 929 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns, 55 first downs
Bill Belichick has every reason to feel good about the amount of talent at running back on the Patriots depth chart. He spent a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Pierre Strong and second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson is poised to take on a bigger role this fall.
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For a team that is seemingly always willing to make surprise deals, moving players who seemed to be ticketed for a prominent role, it seems a Harris trade can’t be ruled out.
When asked about the possibility of the Patriots trading Harris before the 2022 season, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated indicated that it could happen depending on what unfolds this summer.
White already retired, which is a small blow to the depth at the position. However, the Patriots likely knew for several weeks that this decision was coming. In Thursday’s preseason opener against the New York Giants, Strong averaged 4.2 yards per rush and Kevin Harris found the end zone.
As for Stevenson, there are already expectations coming out of Patriots’ practices that he will be the most productive running back on the roster this season. If he’s ready to step into that primary role and Belichick is confident Strong can be the No. 2 option with J.J. Taylor serving as the third-down back, it’s possible Harris could be dealt.
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If he becomes available, the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles seem like potential teams who could make a call to New England.