Howe adds that Vereen could be aiming high at the start of his negotiations with an understanding that he could ultimately accept less in terms of his salary.
According to Howe, Vereen is clearly looking to reach the open market in the next few weeks.
The Patriots and Vereen reportedly exchanged contract proposals last summer, but they weren’t close enough to reach an agreement.
Last year, the Chargers signed Brown to a three-year contract worth $10.5 million and included $4 million guaranteed.
According to Reiss’ source, this could be “the starting point” for contract negotiations and Reiss wouldn’t surprised if Vereen ultimately did better than that in the coming weeks.
Based on the Patriots history of allowing free agent running backs to depart, Reiss wouldn’t be surprised if New England ultimately declined to match offers of this level for Vereen.
Reiss could see a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars being a “strong suitor” for Vereen this offseason.
Vereen, 25, has played out his four-year, $3,461,150 rookie contract that included $1,762,238 guaranteed and is now in position to be an unrestricted free agent.
In 2014, Vereen ran for 391 yards on 96 carries (4.1 YPC) to go along with 52 receptions for 447 yards receiving and five total touchdowns for the Patriots.