On Tuesday, cornerback Malcolm Butler agreed to a multi-year deal with the Tennessee Titans. It now appears that he will not be the only player leaving New England for Nashville in 2018.
Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that running back Dion Lewis will join Butler in making the move to the Titans when free agency opens on Wednesday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport initially reported (via an ‘informed source’) that Lewis would be compensated as a ‘top-ten NFL running back. Mike Garofalo, also of the NFL Network, later reported that Lewis is expected to sign a four-year $20 million, with another $3 million in incentives.
Lewis, who has reverently been referred to as ‘The Fire’ by Full Press Patriots (because he always brought the heat), ran 180 times for 896 yards and six touchdowns while also catching 32 passes out of the backfield for the Patriots. This amounted to the biggest workload in his professional career. On Tuesday, Lewis agreed to turn that workload into a well-deserved payday.
The Strength of a Back
Lewis is at his best when handling passing-down and change-of-pace duties. His elusiveness and big-play capabilities will make him an ideal complement to Derrick Henry in the Titans backfield.
Patriots fans had initially been optimistic about having Lewis return for 2018. However, strong interest from multiple teams almost ensured that Lewis’ asking price would exceed their range. According to MassLive’s Kevin Duffy, head coach Bill Belichick (while at the NFL Combine) had contacted Lewis to express interest in re-signing the running back. However, the Patriots offer would not end up coming close to that which he received from the Titans.
As a result, Dion Lewis is headed to Tennessee. His departure leaves a significant void in the Patriots backfield.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and the AFC East. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC