The New England Patriots’ two most high-profile free agents both will play their football in Nashville this season.
A few hours after cornerback Malcolm Butler reportedly agreed to a contract with the Tennessee Titans, running back Dion Lewis did so, as well, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report news of Lewis’ signing.
Butler’s contract reportedly is worth $61 million over five years. Lewis’ is a four-year, $20 million deal that includes another $3 million in incentives, a source told NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo.
Lewis, arguably the best free agent running back available this spring, is coming off the best season of his career. He rushed for 896 yards on 180 carries, caught 32 passes on 36 targets for 214 yards and scored 10 total touchdowns, including one on a kickoff return.
No NFL running back rushed for more yards over the second half of the season than Lewis did, and only Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara amassed more all-purpose yards during that span.
Lewis torched his new team in the divisional round of the 2017 playoffs, tallying 141 yards from scrimmage on 24 touches in a blowout win at Gillette Stadium. With the Titans, he’ll team up with talented young rusher Derrick Henry to form a thunder-and-lightning-type backfield duo. (Lewis is 5-foot-8, 195 pounds; Henry is 6-foot-3, 247.)
Tennessee quickly has become a gathering place for ex-Patriots under general manager Jon Robinson, a former New England exec. Former Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan signed with the Titans last spring, and the Titans last month hired former Pats linebacker Mike Vrabel as their new head coach.
The 2018 season will feature a reunion, as the Patriots and Titans are scheduled to square off at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images