Patriots Rumors: Chris Carson Contacted by NE amid Leonard Fournette Interest

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson runs with the during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 40-3. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

The New England Patriots have reached out to representatives for veteran running back Chris Carson, according to NFL Network's Michael Giardi.

Albert Breer of The MMQB reported earlier Tuesday that New England had emerged as a possibility for Leonard Fournette.

Per Giardi, the Patriots are "intent" on adding a running back in free agency.

The Patriots have already committed to spend a lot of money this offseason, agreeing to deals with Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Davon Godchaux, Jalen Mills, Matthew Judon, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry among others.

Whether New England has spent wisely is another matter.

Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell

So many of these Patriots moves are filling holes where the players they drafted in the first three rounds over the last few years didn’t work out.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

In less than 24 hours, the Patriots have guaranteed over $137.5 million, placing them second in NFL history for most guaranteed money in a free-agent signing period. The record could be theirs before free agency officially begins at 4 pm Wednesday. https://t.co/fEyRItUjvL

The team used a first-round pick on Sony Michel in 2018 and added Damien Harris in the third round of the 2019 draft. Turning around and signing a running back would seem somewhat puzzling. The Providence Journal's Mark Daniels provided one possible explanation:

Mark Daniels @MarkDanielsPJ

Why are the Patriots reportedly talking with Chris Carson and Leonard Fournette? Sony Michel is likely headed to a contract year leaving Damien Harris as the only legit RB under contract for the long term. If they don't see Sony here long, they should look for another RB.

The Seattle Seahawks declined to use the franchise tag on Carson, thus allowing him to hit the open market.

The 26-year-old ran for 681 yards in 2020, well below his performance in 2018 (1,151) and 2019 (1,230). But his 4.8 yards per carry were a career high, and he caught 46 passes for a personal-best 287 yards and four touchdowns.

While not one of the league's premier running backs, Carson has consistently played at a high level since becoming Seattle's primary ball-carrier in 2018.

Because Carson is a pretty similar runner to both Harris and Michel, you'd have to wonder whether his arrival would signal the departure of either back. At the very least, Michel's future would be thrust into doubt since he's eligible for free agency in 2022.