At this point, it would be a surprise if Dion Lewis is in a New England Patriots uniform next season.
The soon-to-be free agent running back is a “long shot” to re-sign with the Patriots, NBC Sports Boston’s Mike Giardi reported Wednesday, citing multiple sources.
Lewis hinted last week in an interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter that New England might not be willing to give him the contract he believes he deserves, and Giardi’s sources said the 27-year-old “remains disappointed by his usage both early in the (2017) season and again in the Super Bowl.”
After beginning the season at the bottom of the Patriots’ running back depth chart, Lewis emerged as one of the NFL’s most productive backs, ranking second in the league in all-purpose yards and tied for first in rushing yards over the final eight games. His usage did dip in Super Bowl LII — nine carries, 39 yards, zero targets — but New England’s offense as a whole flourished in that game, scoring 33 points and racking up 612 total yards.
Lewis, who made just $1.2 million in salary in 2017, is in line for a big raise. With the Pittsburgh Steelers placing the franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday, Lewis could set the market for running backs this spring. A source with “knowledge” of Lewis’ “impending free-agency plans” told CBS Sports that nine teams already have expressed interest in Lewis and that he expects to land a contract worth $6.5 million annually.
Fellow Patriots running back Rex Burkhead also is set to hit free agency when the NFL league year opens March 14, and there’s no guarantee he re-signs with New England, either.
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