The Patriots addressed a position of need with their first move of the legal tampering period.

It wasn’t a high-profile wide receiver.

Nor was it offensive tackle or quarterback, though those two positions were addressed later in the day with Mike Onwenu and Jacoby Brissett, respectively.

The Patriots reportedly agreed to terms with versatile running back Antonio Gibson on Monday afternoon, less than three hours after the tampering window opened. New England is expected to sign Gibson to a three-year contract with a base value of $11.25 million and maximum value of $17.25 million, per the Boston Herald’s Doug Kyed.

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While adding a running back might not have been on the bingo card of Patriots fans, Gibson nevertheless fills a role New England needed to fill. The Patriots needed a third-down back to take some of the workload from starter Rhamondre Stevenson. That haven’t had the type of player Gibson is since James White retired after the 2021 campaign.

And White, one of the most accomplished running backs for the Patriots, was the last in a long line of pass-catching options out of the backfield. New England fans will remember the days of Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead and Kevin Faulk, who served the role prior to White.

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Those players were quite productive during their respective tenures. Adding a player of a similar skillset could go a long way for the new regime.

Gibson is a very capable pass-catcher and third-down back. Not only is the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Gibson able to stand in and pass protect, but he’s talented in space. In that sense, the shifty and elusive back might play smaller than his size. Gibson was drafted in the third-round of the 2020 NFL Draft after playing wide receiver at Memphis.

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Gibson had 172 receptions for 1,283 yards and seven receiving touchdowns during his four seasons with the Washington Commanders. He’s caught 42 or more passes during each of the last three seasons.

During those three seasons, Gibson ranked seventh among all running backs in receiving yards behind only Austin Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon, D’Andre Swift and Josh Jacobs, per Pats Football Now’s Dan Kelley. That’s a good list to be on.

Additionally, Gibson totaled 2,643 yards on 642 career carries and 22 rushing touchdowns. He had his least productive season in 2023 as he worked as part of the rotation with Brian Robinson. One of Gibson’s biggest weaknesses is fumbling. He fumbled the ball four times in 113 touches during 2023. Stevenson having the lion’s share of attempts might help in that.

An underlying importance to the Gibson deal is the fact there likely will be a young quarterback in New England in the near future. The Patriots are expected to select their franchise quarterback No. 3 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. Said quarterback — either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels — could benefit from having a trusted target out of the backfield.

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Featured image via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images