The New England Patriots have a reputation of placing a premium on versatile players, capable of lining up at multiple positions.
Ty Montgomery with the stiff arm
Ty Montgomery breaks away from his defenders
From receivers Troy Brown and Julian Edelman spending time in the defensive backfield, to linebackers Mike Vrabel and Elandon Roberts aligning as pass catchers, more than a handful of Patriots [both past and present] have all lined up outside of position to help the team.
In 2022, New England seems poised to continue that trend by signing running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery. The two sides agreed to a two-year contract worth up to $4 million in March.
Montgomery was selected in the third round [94th overall] by the Green Bay Packers in the 2015 NFL Draft. After spending his first three-plus seasons with the Packers, Montgomery was traded to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a seventh-round pick [in the 2020 NFL Draft] during the 2018 season. He signed with the New York Jets in 2019, where he would remain for just one year. For the past two seasons, he had been a member of the New Orleans Saints.
Throughout his career, Montgomery has amassed 1180 rushing yards on 258 carries with sevens touchdowns. As a backfield receiver, he has compiled 1104 receiving yards on 139 catches with three scoring receptions. Montgomery has also been effective as a kick returner, where he has gained 1,274 yards on 57 attempts, averaging 22.4 yards per return.
Montgomery is coming off a statistically underwhelming season in 2021. He averaged 2.9 yards per carry on 15 rushes and caught 16 passes for 95 yards and zero touchdowns for the Saints. If the Patriots have high hopes for him as a solid contributor as a reserve option on offense, they will need to see signs of improvement, starting in training camp. His special teams acumen may help his case, as he took 48% of the Saints’ snaps a year ago, both as a kick returner and on coverage teams.
With the Patriots, he should be expected to settle into an offensive option on third-down, as well as a backfield receiver. At his best, he can provide solid contributions as a hybrid receiver/running back and kick returner. Therefore, he should be New England’s second receiving back behind James White and third Z-receiver option [off the line of scrimmage] along with Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne. In fact, if Meyers sees more time in the slot, Montgomery’s role as a receiver may increase.
One duty he is highly unlikely to undertake will be that of punt returning duties. As Montgomery has not served in this capacity in the past, his signing should not be seen as a potential replacement for former All-Pro punt returner Gunner Olszewski, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in March.
Instead, Montgomery's addition could help to mitigate the losses of running back Brandon Bolden and fullback Jakob Johnson, who both signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. Both Bolden and Johnson were regular contributors both on offense, and special teams.
Whether Montgomery plays a notable role in the Patriots offense is still a matter of question. However, his skill set and versatility may allow him to continue the tradition of dual-threat players who quickly become fan favorites in Foxboro.