Stevan RidleyThe New England Patriots will have Stevan Ridley right where they want him in 2014: fighting for a longterm contract.

The Patriots haven’t discussed a contract extension with Ridley, who is expected to be the team’s starting running back next season, Albert Breer reported Friday. Ridley is entering a contract year with the Patriots, and the fourth-year back no doubt wants 2014 to go better than 2013, when he lost his starting role because of fumbling issues to LeGarrette Blount.

Ridley still led the Patriots in rushing with 773 yards on 178 carries with seven touchdowns. Ridley fumbled four times last season, however, and was benched in Week 13 after fumbling three times in three weeks.

Ridley was drafted in the third round (No. 73 overall) of the 2011 NFL draft. He will compete for carries in 2014 with Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray and rookies James White, Stephen Houston and Roy Finch.