What Sony Michel trade means for Patriots backfield: Here’s how the move affects Bill Belichick’s RBs

Sony Michel’s tenure in New England got here to a detailed on Wednesday when the Patriots agreed to trade the former first-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams for conditional Day 3 draft capital. Regardless of leaving with a Super Bowl ring on his finger, the again does depart Foxborough with out solely dwelling as much as the No. 31 general price ticket that the staff paid again in 2018. In fact, Michel is simply the newest instance of New England’s poor drafting during the last decade, significantly on the offensive facet of the ball. The membership even telegraphed that the top was presumably close to for Michel earlier this offseason after they declined to choose up his fifth-year possibility, which means 2021 was going to be the ultimate 12 months on the again’s rookie contract. 

So, once you combine in Michel’s play that did not reside as much as first-round requirements during the last three years and the dearth of dedication past this coming season, it was simple to determine him as somebody on the chopping block. Whereas these had been actually elements in him being the odd man out on this backfield rotation for the Patriots, this commerce does communicate volumes about a few of the younger backs in Invoice Belichick’s steady. 

After all, third-year again Damien Harris goes to be the staff’s starter to start the common season. He unseated Michel because the staff’s lead again throughout the 2020 marketing campaign, the place he began all 10 of the video games he appeared in. At the same time as he missed six video games, Harris led the staff in speeding with 691 yards on a 5 yards per carry clip. On this backfield, he’ll proceed to get the early-down work, which is a job he thrived in final 12 months. When given the ball on second down particularly in 2020, Harris averaged 5.9 yards per rush and transformed 18 of his 39 makes an attempt for first downs. Even when New England appears to be like to cross prior to 3rd down, Harris did present a capability to carry out in that setting, catching 4 of his 5 targets on first down for 52 yards. Albeit that is a small pattern measurement, however these totals might encourage the staff to presumably look to him extra in that regard. 

In the identical breath, Harris’ function within the passing recreation could have a low ceiling so long as James White is on the roster. The veteran continues to be New England’s important passing down again. Even in what may very well be thought of a down 12 months for the 29-year-old from a statistical standpoint, White hauled in 79% of his targets, which was a career-high exterior of his rookie season when he appeared in simply three video games. White will proceed to be a key determine within the passing recreation for the Patriots and function the elder statesman of the group. 

As for the 2 kids in rookie Rhamondre Stevenson and second-year again J.J. Taylor, their mixed success this preseason was seemingly what pushed the Patriots to finally commerce Michel. Stevenson, a fourth-round select of Oklahoma, has dazzled this summer time with some eye-opening runs. By means of two exhibitions, he is totaled 193 speeding yards on 7.72 yards per carry and 4 touchdowns. With Michel gone, count on him to be the first early-down backup to Harris, with the potential of development because the season progresses. With Taylor, he offers an electrical energy that hasn’t been seen within the Patriots backfield since Dion Lewis (operating backs coach Ivan Fears has even referred to him as “Little Dion”). He impressed throughout restricted enjoying time in 2020 and has solely continued to make a reputation for himself this summer time the place he has 103 yards and a landing whereas additionally catching all eight of his targets for 49 yards. This coming season, Taylor may very well be pegged for a Rex Burkhead-type function on this offense. 

As for the goal-line work, it actually will depend on how the scenario develops at quarterback. If Cam Newton continues to carry agency on the beginning job, he’ll be the focus of the offense in that space of the sphere. Final 12 months, he logged 137 complete carries (second-highest of his profession) and 73 of them got here contained in the pink zone (31 carries contained in the opponent’s 10-yard line). If Mac Jones takes over, Stevenson and his 227-pound body matches the mildew of a extra conventional goal-line again. Nonetheless, Belichick additionally didn’t rule out a platoon situation at quarterback, so this may very well be an space the place Newton continues to see enjoying time even when Jones ascends to QB1. 

Who would be the Patriots’ beginning quarterback this season? Can Mac Jones unseat Cam Newton? And what does it imply for the remainder of the Patriots’ gamers? Download the CBS Sports app to search out out! Plus, get perception from our resident Patriots insider, Tyler Sullivan. If you have already got the CBS Sports activities app, be sure to choose the Patriots as your favourite staff for up-to-the-minute news.

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/what-sony-michel-trade-means-for-patriots-backfield-heres-how-the-move-affects-bill-belichicks-rbs/ | What Sony Michel commerce means for Patriots backfield: Here is how the transfer impacts Invoice Belichick’s RBs


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