(CTN News) – The New England Ezekiel Elliott Patriots are going to make Rhamondre Stevenson a key offensive player – if not THE key player. In 2023, he may lead the team in receptions and carries again.
But if Stevenson is really going to power the offense, then the Patriots need a Plan B in case he gets injured. Stevenson was Damien Harris’ Plan B last year. Stevenson was simply more effective than Harris.
Up until this week, Stevenson didn’t have an understudy.
Adding a veteran who can plug and play is crucial for the Patriots. There was a need for Ezekiel Elliott. According to a source, that’s why they agreed on terms with Elliott on Monday.
It’s probably not necessary for New England to have such a glaring need. Bill Belichick’s recent drafting is discreditable, since he picked both Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris in the fourth round of the 2022 draft. Since the team rested Stevenson in multiple training camp practices and the preseason opener, neither player has stepped up.
As a result, Zeke is in the building. The team will practice this week with him.
Stevenson, who visited Ezekiel Elliott with the Patriots in July, said he was a big fan back in his college days. Ezekiel Elliott continues to be a fan of mine.”
According to Stevenson, “we’re confident in our room right now. If someone else comes in, we’ll see if he works as hard as we do.”
In their initial offer to Ezekiel Elliott, the Patriots increased his earning potential to $6 million, including $3 million in salary, $1 million in signing bonus, and $2 million in incentives.
The deal Elliott has is unique. RB Jamaal Williams should make more than Elliott in terms of average annual value, but Elliott could match Lions RB David Montgomery’s AAV at $6 million if he meets all his incentives.
Which deal does Zeke have over Montgomery and Williams? Three-year contracts were signed by both of them. There was one for Zeke.
The fact that Belichick increased the offer still shows that he felt a sense of urgency to sign Elliott.
Stevenson, 25, and Elliott, 28, have striking similarities. Their height and weight are similar – both are 6 feet and 225 pounds.
There’s also their pounding running style, which punishes the defense. It allows them both to play every down since they can pass-protect. Also, they are capable of catching passes. Over 60 receptions have been recorded by both backs this season.
Getting a runner who is so similar to Stevenson shows how important Stevenson is to the Patriots’ offense. As when a team with a mobile quarterback signs a backup with a similar skill set. Their backup plan must match their current plan.
After averaging 268 carries per season for seven consecutive seasons, Ezekiel Elliott was questioned whether he had any gas left in the tank.
He has dipped in production, but it’s probably related to the steady decline of Dallas’ offensive line.
Elliott rushed for just 3.8 yards per carry in 2022, but he logged his highest PFF grade (71.9) since 2015. With better blocking, Ezekiel Elliott efficiency will probably improve dramatically.
In Stevenson’s rookie year, Zeke’s contract sets up an interesting financial scenario. In spite of the fact that his on-field value remains high, running backs have been steadily devalued financially.