Leading up to free agency which begins March 12th we will be taking a look at some of the Patriots own free agents and briefly discuss whether they may be back with the team or not. Today we will be taking a look at impending Pats free agent Danny Woodhead.
Ever since Kevin Faulk’s departure Danny Woodhead has stepped up to the plate and been the Patriots safety valve at the running back position. You may remember when the Patriots traded Lawrence Maroney they were able to scoop up Danny Woodhead as a free agent who was released by the Jets. Kevin Faulk was injured and Danny stepped up to the plate and showed to be a stingy playmaker in the backfield and added a different dimension to the Patriots ground attack. Well two years later and Woodhead went from being the guy to being a reliable third down back option for the Pats. It seems like whenever the Patriots are in a crucial situation the Patriots have shown trust in Wooshead by putting him out there over other Patriots backs. The Patriots backfield has made itself a much larger role over the past few seasons as the Patriots offense has traditionally been a passing unit. The offense has had great success in the running game and the offense has been able to diversify and do a multitude of different things due to the versatility the offense brings. Danny Woodhead may have shed some light to the Patriots brass to maybe show what it would be like with more speed in the backfield. In 2011 the Patriots spent a second and third round pick on Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley and the rest is history. The Patriots in 2012 has much success on the ground and Danny Woodhead became the veteran presence in the backfield despite only being in the league for four seasons.
Woodhead clearly isn’t the every down starter in the Patriots offense to this point. The Patriots seem to like his consistency and dependability as he is a quality role player for the team. Stevan Ridley is the starter for now and Shane Vereen showed towards the end of the season maybe he can do some of the things that Woodhead can do and potentially be even more dynamic than Woodhead. The Patriots invested a second round pick in Shane Vereen in 2011. One has to wonder how similar the skill sets between Vereen and Woodhead really are. Is it worth holding out a young and explosive -potential break out candidate in Vereen for Danny Woodhead? I feel the Patriots offensive playmakers need to find a way to get more speed and youth involved. There is no reason the Patriots can’t have both Vereen and Woodhead as both are quality players-however both skill-sets are very similar and it may hold back from adding to another position of need on the roster.
The NFL has evolved into this pass heavy league and it will be very interesting to see how many teams will be interested in a player like Woody. I feel a good amount of teams would be interested in having Woodhead on their roster as he is as versatile as they come. Woodhead returned kicks for the Patriots most of the season and proved to be an effective passing down back. I would think the Patriots would be open to bringing him back on board as a veteran presence and a situational role player but it would have to be at the right price. If other teams show interest in Danny that could drive the price tag higher than Patriots may be willing to go. With that said I can’t imagine Danny Woodhead will be breaking the bank anywhere as there will be a plethora of running backs available in this 2013 free agent crop.
Do you feel Danny will be backwith New England? Will the Patriots be a better football team with Danny Woodhead on the roster? Let me know in the comments section what you think! Are you for or against re-signing Danny Woodhead? Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more updates @MikeOnofrio !