Patriots sign ex-Bengals RB Rex Burkhead

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Originally sixth-round pick out of Nebraska, Burkhead has spent the past four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

In addition to two straight double-digit special teams tackle seasons, Burkhead rushed for 344 yards with two touchdowns a year ago, adding another 145 yards on 17 receptions. Working on a fairly small sample size, Burkhead averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 74 attempts for 344 yards with two touchdowns as a bruiser and added 17 catches for 145 yards through the air.

Deployed at both running back and receiver throughout his Cincinnati tenure, Burkhead's versatile skill set is one the Patriots have traditionally coveted with their running backs.

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Burkhead could replace free agent Brandon Bolden as the Patriots' special-teams ace/d0-everything back. On the other hand, Burkhead also tallied 17 receptions on 20 targets this past season. Burkhead led the Bengals in special teams tackles last season in 209 total snaps. Most likely, Burkhead will be part of a committee with Lewis and White.

Our best guess is White will remain in his role as a pass catcher out of the backfield.

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. The Patriots have shown a reluctance to run him between the tackles, and Lewis and Burkhead can handle that job if another running back isn't added. The Bengals will certainly be looking at running backs in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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