The Patriots added some depth to their running back room Wednesday night.
New England signed James Robinson to a two-year contract worth up to $8 million hours after NFL free agency officially opened, according to multiple reports.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was the first to report the signing, which Robinson confirmed on Twitter.
Robinson, who turns 25 in August, was non-tendered by the Jets earlier this week. He was traded to New York from Jacksonville midway through this season and posted modest numbers, totaling 425 rushing yards and 11 receptions in 11 appearances for the two franchises.
The Illinois State product was far more productive in 2020, when he rushed for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 49 passes for 344 yards and three scores in 14 games as an undrafted Jaguars rookie. Robinson added 989 yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns in 2021 before tearing his Achilles in December.
Robinson has appeared in 39 career games with 32 starts, averaging 4.4 yards per carry and totaling 91 receptions.
In New England, Robinson projects as a replacement for free agent Damien Harris, who appears unlikely to re-sign. He’ll complement lead back Rhamondre Stevenson and compete with 2022 draft picks Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris for playing time.
Strong and Kevin Harris both played sparingly as rookies, with Stevenson emerging as one of the NFL’s top dual-threat backs while injuries hampered Damien Harris.
The Patriots also still have Ty Montgomery under contract for 2023. The running back/receiver hybrid opened the 2022 campaign as New England’s top third-down back but suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1.
Robinson was the fourth external free agent to sign with New England this week, joining offensive tackles Calvin Anderson and Riley Reiff and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Patriots had yet to officially announce the signings as of Thursday night.