In what seems to be a signature Bill Belichick move, the emperor himself is signing former Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller to a one-year deal. Miller is joining the New England Patriots heading into his age 29 season just one year removed from an ACL tear he suffered in the preseason with the Texans last August. If there’s anything we’ve learned about Bill Belichick over the years, it’s that he knows how to get the most out of still-productive veterans when they are at their cheapest.
During his time in Miami, Miller was a reliable starter for the Dolphins. Over four years in South Florida, the University of Miami alum accumulated 2,930 rushing yards, 887 receiving yards, and 22 total touchdowns. Miller’s best season in aqua and orange came in 2014 when he ran for 1099 yards, racked up 275 more through the air, and reached the endzone nine total times.
Miller enters a Patriots running back room with plenty of talent and potential, but also several question marks. Third-year back and presumptive starter Sony Michel is still recovering from an injury and is a candidate to start the season on the physically unable to preform (PUP) list. The former first-round draft pick has been a relative disappointment in his two season in New England, and it looks like Miller is Belichick’s insurance in case Michel can’t turn the corner.
Along with Michel and Miller, the Patriots also have several versatile players that are certain to play a part in Belichick’s system. James White has been New England’s primary pass-catching back for years and will likely occupy the same role for new starting quarterback Cam Newton. Given the uncertainty surrounding Michel’s recovery and Miller’s unfamiliarity with a new playbook, White is the top candidate to get the majority of snaps early in the season. Rex Burkhead is also currently under contract, though the oft-injured Swiss Army Knife’s role is very much up in the air following Miller’s signing.
Finally, Belichick and offensive cooridnator Josh McDaniels will likely attempt to find a place for Damien Harris, a second-year player whom the Pats selected in the third-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Harris was only active for two games last season, but his draft pedigree will likely earn him a shot at some playing time.
For more information on Miller’s signing with New England, visit SB Nation’s Patriots website: Pats Pulpit.