SATURDAY, 9:35am: For what it’s worth, Foster was spotted at Boston’s Logan Airport yesterday, but ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss says a trip to Gillette Stadium wasn’t in his itinerary.
The Patriots may have eight running backs on their current roster, but Reiss doesn’t believe that’d prevent the organization from pursuing a veteran running back. The writer notes that Foster’s “well-documented” rushing production and his pass-catching ability make him a natural fit for the Patriots, but the running back’s health is also a big factor.
FRIDAY, 6:06pm: After the Patriots chose not to select a running back in last month’s draft, they could be eyeing help via the free agent market. According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), New England has interest in free agent running back Arian Foster, but that interest is “just preliminary.”
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Per Cole’s report, it sounds as though the Patriots are simply doing their due diligence on Foster, at least for the moment. It wouldn’t be surprising if New England’s reticence to take a more serious look at Foster is related to his health questions, as a report just this morning indicated that Foster is a week or two away from being able to pass a physical. In 2015, Foster was slowed by a groin injury in training camp and the preseason, and later suffered a torn Achilles, landing him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
Still, as I noted when ranking Foster as the No. 3 available offensive free agent, the 29-year-old back is still capable of putting up results when he is on the field. He accumulated 6,472 rushing yards during his seven years as a Texan, and earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2010 to 2012, averaging about 1,900 all purpose yards and 16 touchdowns in those seasons. But Foster was limited to 25 regular-season games from 2013 to 2015, and injuries, his age, and his increasing cap number resulted in the Houston releasing him this spring.
The Patriots will return much of the same running back corps that that they fielded in 2015, as LeGarrette Blount will team with James White, Brandon Bolden, and a rehabbing Dion Lewis to carry the load in New England. The one new addition to the club’s backfield is former Charger Donald Brown, but he figures to see most of his action on special teams.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.