Dion Lewis’ breakout 2017 season in New England in all probability means he is about to turn out to be a former Patriots operating again in NFL free agency.
Lewis had an distinctive second half of the season as an entire function again. With the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell set to be both franchise-tagged once more or locked up with a profitable, lengthy-time period contract, Lewis is by far the highest again who will hit the market in March.
Earlier than final season, Lewis was seen as extra of an elusive open-area receiver and harmful return man. That was earlier than he emerged from a crowded New England backfield to place up 896 yards dashing on solely one hundred eighty carries (5.zero-yard common). He additionally scored 10 complete touchdowns, had 214 yards receiving and racked up 570 yards off kickoffs.
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With Lewis at age 27, it is wanting like a 3-yr deal value at the least $15 million complete would be the value for an additional group to signal him. That costs him out of New England, so listed here are the 5 groups with which Lewis fits best for 2018 and past.
4 years in the past, between the Browns and the Patriots, Lewis spent a brief September week with the Colts underneath former coach Chuck Pagano. It is a utterly totally different staff now with Frank Reich as the brand new coach and Chris Ballard in his second offseason as GM.
Frank Gore is a free agent who turns 35 in Might. Marlon Mack flashed as a rookie, however he did little to recommend he can be a workhorse. The Colts are sitting on greater than $one hundred fifteen millon beneath the wage cap and have greater wants they need to take into consideration addressing early in the draft, the place they maintain the No. three and No. 36 general picks.
Lewis wouldn’t be simply a luxurious signing for Reich. He combines the attributes of some profitable backs Reich had in Philadelphia into a 3-down choice. Lewis’ velocity can be excellent for the quick monitor in Indy to assist counter the defenses in the AFC South.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers launched Doug Martin, and coach Dirk Koetter is rising somewhat uninterested in a talent-particular committee towards which it is simpler to decipher run or cross based mostly on who’s in the backfield. Lewis may be efficient enjoying off Jameis Winston throwing downfield. The wage cap is not a problem, both, with greater than $seventy one million obtainable to spend.
Lewis represents a great way to wash up the mess in the dashing assault and in addition present an improve over Martin.
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San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are unlikely to re-signal Carlos Hyde. For Kyle Shanahan’s second season, then, it isn’t excellent to belief second-yr gamers Matt Breida and Joe Williams plus a rookie in the backfield.
With the staff feeling extra like it could actually win now with Jimmy Garoppolo, there ought to be a want for an explosive-but-regular component in the operating recreation. Lewis has good familiarity with Garoppolo from their days collectively in New England, and with Lewis possessing a number of the similar expertise as these of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, he ought to remind Shanahan of the dashing/receiving boon he had in Atlanta.
San Francisco additionally is true in between Indianapolis and Tampa Bay with ample wage-cap area at greater than $seventy four million.
This match is not so apparent, however the Redskins ought to think about using a few of their $forty nine million-plus in cap area to land Lewis. Rob Kelley (ankle/knee) and Chris Thompson (leg) are coming off season-ending accidents, and as a rookie, Samaje Perine was a irritating fumbler earlier than he discovered some footing late.
That is one other group that has telegraphed its backfield plans a bit based mostly on personnel. Lewis proved he may be the robust inside runner Gruden likes. Lewis and Thompson with the Redskins might be what Lewis and James White have been for the Patriots.
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The Lions and returning offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter need to be uninterested in Ameer Abdullah. Theo Riddick’s worth stays capped as a receiving-solely again. Now there’s a Lewis reference to former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia taking up as head coach.
Detroit has much less wage-cap area ($forty four million-plus) than the 4 groups above, however common supervisor Bob Quinn has made a solemn vow to lastly repair the workforce’s operating recreation and assist Matthew Stafford. Getting Lewis can be fairly the answer. Patricia additionally ought to know firsthand how complementary Lewis might be to a profitable protection.