Beyond that, Volin mentions that the Patriots used several of their 60 official visits on running back prospects, including Cal’s Daniel Lasco and Northwestern FB Dan Vitale.
While the Patriots have been reluctant to spend a lot of money on running backs in the past, Volin seems to think this might be the year for them to splurge on the position.
Volin adds that the belief within the Patriots is that OC Josh McDaniels‘ hands were tied as a play-caller during their AFC Championship game loss to the Broncos because of the team’s complete inability to run the ball.
Of the free agent options listed by Volin, Forte seems to make the most sense, due to his versatility and overall effectiveness for some time now.
Bell is an interesting options, considering that signing him wouldn’t factor into their 2017 compensatory picks, unlike the other three running backs.
It’s worth mentioning that a recent report did say that New England and free agent RB LeGarrette Blount have mutual interest in a new contract, so there’s a chance they could elect to re-sign him and maybe draft someone.
Forte, 30, he has played out his four-year, $30.4 million contract that included $13.8 million guaranteed. He’s now in position to be one of the best available running backs in this year’s free agent market.
In 2015, Forte has appeared in 13 games and ran for 898 yards on 218 carries (4.1 YPC) to go along with 44 receptions for 389 yards receiving and seven total touchdowns for the Bears. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 19 running back out of 68 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 100 – 2016 Free Agents list.