It doesn’t sound like Dion Lewis expects to be with the New England Patriots next season.
The soon-to-be free agent running back was asked during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Adam Schefter Podcast” about the chances of him re-signing with New England. He said he’s loved his time with the Patriots but will make sure he’s paid what he believes he’s worth this offseason.
“We’ll see,” Lewis said. “It’s a business. I love it here. I’ve grown great relationships in this area. The past three years have been great. I’m close to home — I can get to New York in two-and-a-half hours, so I’m real close to my family. So things are perfect. But at the same time, it’s a business.
“Hopefully, it’ll work out, but at the same time, you can’t always think that way. You’ve got to take care of yourself and your family at the same time. So it’ll definitely be tough. Hopefully, it can work out, but at the same time, I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket.
“I know how the team likes to handle their business, and as a running back, you’ve got to make the most of your opportunity. And me being the player that I am, my main thing is making sure I can go out there next year and show people the type of player I can be. I still think I can improve from what I did this past year, so my main thing is just making sure I’m valued. That’s my biggest thing: make sure that I’m valued the way I value myself.”
Lewis is coming off the best season of his career, playing in all 16 games and rushing for 896 yards and six touchdowns while also catching 32 passes for 214 yards and three scores. The 27-year-old led the NFL in rushing yards over the second half of the season (tied for first with Marshawn Lynch) and ranked second in all-purpose yards during that span behind Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara.
“I think I have a lot to give,” Lewis said. “I think my career is just getting started, especially these last three years. My first three years in the league, I didn’t even really get to play, so I didn’t take many hits. These past three years is the only opportunity I’ve had to get on the field, so my body feels great. My legs feel good. I don’t feel 27. I feel 22, 23.”
After earning just $1.2 million in salary this season, Lewis is in line for a substantial raise — one the Patriots might not be willing to pay. He’ll be one of the top running backs available if he does not sign a contract extension before March 14.