Patriots sign former Bengals running back Rex Burkhead
Mar 15 2017
They've added former Cincinnati Bengals back Rex Burkhead, the team announced Tuesday.
Burkhead, originally a sixth-round pick of the Bengals in 2013, spent three seasons in Cincinnati, rushing for a total of 375 yards while scoring three touchdowns. In the final two weeks of the 2016 season, Burkhead took over for both Bernard and Jeremy Hill as the lead back.
Burkhead, 26, is not James White, nor is he Dion Lewis. Blount is now an unsigned free agent despite scoring 18 touchdowns in 2016. On the other hand, Burkhead also tallied 17 receptions on 20 targets this past season.
According to a report from ESPN's Field Yates, Burkhead is meeting with the New England Patriots today. He also has 27 special teams tackles, including consecutive double digit tackle seasons with 11 in 2015 and 12 in 2016.
He can be used on early downs or in a pass-catching role, and he has the agility to potentially split out as a receiver at times.
Lewis and Burkhead could split early-down work and work at the goal line, and remember that Blount led the National Football League with 18 rushing touchdowns previous year to go with 299 carries for 1,161 yards.
Although Bernard and Hill have shared running back duties for several years now, that won't stop the Bengals from exploring their options at the position. He could compete with Gaffney for that power-running role during training camp. If he can't share snaps with Lewis, White and another player in the backfield, then he'll be a core special-teams player.