The Patriots didn’t re-sign Rex Burkhead until July 2020.
So there’s probably still plenty of time for them to decide whether to bring back the free agent running back for 2021.
Burkhead, though, doesn’t want to be forgotten -- by the Pats or any of the other 31 NFL teams. Four months after undergoing knee surgery, Burkhead took to Instagram to reveal what looks like solid progress in his rehabilitation.
The Pats recently re-signed James White to complement the likes of Damien Harris and Sony Michel. And they still have J.J. Taylor, and Brandon Bolden is scheduled to come back after opting out last season.
That’s a lot of running backs.
Burkhead might want to be back in Foxboro, but is it worth it for the Patriots? Here are the pros and cons of re-signing Burkhead:
The Pats know what they’re getting with Burkhead -- a reliable pair of hands. Now 30, Burkhead rushed 67 times and caught 25 passes last season without a fumble. He was targeted with 33 passes and didn’t drop a single one.
A lot will depend on what the Pats future is at quarterback. With a running quarterback like Cam Newton, the Pats might not have a need for another running back. They can use the roster spot and cap space on another position.
If Jarrett Stidham or Jimmy Garoppolo are callings the signals, Burkhead might make more sense.
On a one-year, prove-it contract, Burkhead will be at his best, assuming he’s healthy. The Pats have tried to keep plenty of veterans that know that system and the culture here in order to make it easier for the half dozen or so newcomers to assimilate. It couldn’t hurt to have one more.
Last season he had a base salary of $1.05 million and a cap hit of $2.925 million, according to Spotrac.
Even if he won’t cost the Pats much, Burkhead might have lost a step after surgery. It might be best to go younger and take someone late in the draft to compete for time with the aforementioned incumbents.
Based on history, the Pats have as many as four more months to see if Burkhead fits their plans. For now, it appears Burkhead’s going to keep working toward a return to the field somewhere in the NFL.