The list of former New England Patriots finding homes with divisional rivals and AFC top contenders is growing. On Monday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Patriots’ former Super Bowl champion Sony Michel was signing with the Miami Dolphins.
The Sony Michel Trade Was a Solid Deal for the Patriots
Michel spent the 2021 season helping the Los Angeles Rams win a Super Bowl. The Patriots traded Michel to L.A. days before the beginning of the 2021 season in a cost-cutting move that landed New England a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft (a selection that was used on massive LSU offensive lineman Chasen Hines) and a fourth-rounder set for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Even with Michel playing a supporting role in the Rams’ Super Bowl run, the two-pick haul was an impressive one for the Patriots considering they’re seemingly set at the running back position with Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and two rookies (Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris).
Michel had excellent rookie and second seasons with the Patriots. In his first year, Michel paced the Patriots’ rushing attack with 931 yards and 6 rushing TDs. He helped the Patriots capture their most recent Super Bowl title that season, defeating what would ultimately be his next team, the Rams, 13-3.
Sony Michel Raised His Stock With a Strong 2021
Michel rushed for 912 yards and 7 TDs the following season before injuries and the emergence of Harris limited his touches in 2020. Michel’s production dipped to 449 yards on the ground which helped pave the way for the trade.
As a member of the Rams, Michel filled in admirably for the injured Cam Akers. Michel helped establish a running attack to balance the powerful aerial game the Rams rode to the Super Bowl last season.
Appearing in all 17 games, which made the first time in Michel’s career that he didn’t miss a contest, he rushed for 845 yards and 4 TDs. While catching the ball out of the backfield still isn’t his forte, Michel did set a new career-high with 21 receptions in 2021.
Based on his performance and health, it was a little surprising it took until May for Michel to find a new home. The 27-year-old is joining a suddenly high-powered Dolphins attack. With Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Mike Gesicki, Tua Tagovailoa shouldn’t have any issues finding targets.
However, the Dolphins’ running back room could be a competitive one. Michel joins Chase Edmonds (who had 903 yards from scrimmage in a breakout season with the Arizona Cardinals in 2021), the explosive but oft-injured Raheem Mostert, and Myles Gaskin (last year’s starting running back). It’s feasible that one player from that group may not be a part of the Dolphins’ Week 1 roster.
Patriots RB Depth Chart is Stacked
The Patriots may have their own logjam at running back. It would appear Harris is set to resume his duties as the team’s top back, but Stevenson may have the most star potential. As a rookie, in just 12 games, Stevenson racked up 729 yards from scrimmage with 5 TDs. He showed the ability to run with power and some breakaway speed for big plays.
Perhaps most importantly, his 14 receptions were just a glimmer of what he could potentially offer as a receiver out of the backfield. If Stevenson improves in pass protection, he could make Harris expendable much the way he made Michel ahead of the 2021 season.
Strong Jr, Harris, James White and J. J. Taylor give New England a wealth of options this season at running back.
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