Dion Lewis might be one of the NFL's most underrated players. The soon-to-be free agent was a big part of the Patriots' offense last season where he averaged 5.0 yards per carry, hauled in 32 passes and scored nine touchdowns (six on the ground, three through the air). According to Football Outsiders' metrics, Lewis ranked first among all running backs in total value, second in value per play and was top 10 in receiving.
And assuming the Patriots don't re-sign Lewis before the start of free agency on March 14, the dynamic running back will have plenty of interest on the open market. The Jets and Colts are possible destinations for Lewis, reports ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler, and Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio writes that, in addition to New York and Indianapolis, the Texans, Raiders and possibly two or three other teams could try to sign him.
Lewis, originally a 2011 fifth-round pick of the Eagles, has played in every game in a season just once -- last season. His career has been hampered by injuries; he suffered a torn ACL in 2015, which limited him to seven games that season and seven in 2016 as he recovered. But when Lewis is healthy he can be a game-changer. And at 27 years old, his best football could still be in front of him.
Lewis isn't the only New England running back headed for free agency. Rex Burkhead's contract is up, leaving the Pats with James White, Mike Gillislee, James Develin and just re-signed Brandon Bolden.