Burkhead is less likely than fellow free-agent acquisition Mike Gillislee to help fill the void created by LeGarrette Blount's departure, ESPN.com's Mike Reiss reports.
It seemed Burkhead might be headed for big things when the Patriots signed him to a one-year, $3.15 million contract in March, but the team then added Gillislee on a two-year, $6.4 million contract a month later, further bolstering a backfield that already had James White and Dion Lewis (hamstring). While Burkhead did average 4.6 yards on his 74 carries last season, he mostly made his mark as a special teams player and pass blocker during his four seasons in Cincinnati. Given that Gillislee averaged 5.7 yards and scored eight touchdowns on 101 carries with the Bills last season, the former Bengal may find himself with a role not all that different from the one he had with his old team. The size of the contract does suggest that the Patriots at least have plans to occasionally involve Burkhead in the offense.