The rich are getting richer -- and more versatile.
New England coach Bill Belichick places a premium on versatile players with special teams ability. Burkhead not only led Cincinnati's special teams coverage last season, but also outplayed Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard out of the backfield.
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Burkhead closed out the 2016 season by rushing for 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 27 carries in a 27-10 victory over the Ravens. A darling of the advanced metrics crowd, he's an effective runner with natural enough receiving skills to spend time in the slot.
Although Burkhead's skill set might seem a tad redundant with James White and Dion Lewis on the roster, both of those scat backs are entering contract years. It's quite possible that the Patriots view Burkhead as a souped-up version of Brandon Bolden, the special teams ace capable of filling any backfield role in a pinch.
In other words, the addition of Burkhead does not fill the power-back void that would be created if LeGarrette Blount signs elsewhere after an 18-touchdown season in 2016.