No Patriot has received more flack this offseason than Rex Burkhead. The latest buzz on Rex is he will be the odd man out this summer in the runningback rotation. Yet, I am here to pump the breaks on that belief.
Uncertainty Creates Opportunity
There are large uncertainties at both receiver and tight end. This makes it likely the Patriots will start the season with a few more runningbacks than normal.
Ben Watson’s suspension, Julian Edelman’s age, N’Keal Harry’s inexperience, and the current uncertainty the public has with who will be the number three receiver should all indicate that the Patriots might be grounded to start off the season. Then, once Ben Watson comes back and things start to make sense and click, things should open up more.
Losing Gronk, and Watson to start the season, the Patriots start 2019 with a less than stellar tight end group. This group does have guys like Ryan Izzo and Andrew Beck, who were very strong blockers in college, however, both have not played a regular season game yet.
Matt LaCosse looks like the front runner for the starting job and also has shown that he is a good blocker. However, he has never seen a role of this magnitude in the NFL before.
Not to mention, the tackle spots remain a question mark. Marcus Cannon may have come off a very strong campaign last season, but struggles to remain consistent in the NFL. And the even bigger issue continues to be the health of Isaiah Wynn, who so far has been forced to hand the lion share of left tackle reps to Joe Thuney, due to his inability to be at full go so far.
With all this uncertainty with the offense to start the season, the Patriots could use a back that can hit the hole fast and hard, embrace the contact, and run with excellent vision. No one on the Patriots does those things better than Rex Burkhead.
Familiar Spot for Rex
Not to mention, Rex has pretty much been fighting for his job his whole NFL career. In a season where everyone believes he is on the outside looking in, he has a lot to prove.
The biggest thing holding Rex’s roster spot in place has to be his contract. Cutting Rex Burkhead would cost the Patriots more money than keeping him on the team for the season.
Economic Fallout Would Be Unbelichickian
Trading him would do the same. Also, the trade market for runningbacks is ridiculously low at the moment. Several quality runningbacks like Jay Ajayi, Marshawn Lynch, and Alex Collins are yet to be signed this offseason.
Rex Will Survive
Giving all this evidence, the number of runningbacks the Patriots currently have might not matter. Rex Burkhead will survive the crowded backfield .
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