Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers carries the ball against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
When the Patriots lost running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis in free agency to the Cincinnati Bengas, many fans speculated that New England could seek to add a top running back or two through free agency, trades, the draft, or some other means.
Personally, I believed the Patriots had decided to let Green-Ellis go in order to hand the reigns to youngsters Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. Yesterday, however, we have learned that the Patriots may have simply wanted to go to an alternative, less expensive option at running back to provide depth.
All three running backs are experienced and have shown the potential to carry to the load for an offense.
Addai, of course, helped destroy the Patriots shot at a Super Bowl in 2006 with his one yard game winning touchdown in the AFC Championship. He hasn't been too effective lately, but could be a nice depth piece for a backfield somewhere in 2012. Grant has been slowed down by a variety of injuries since 2009, but still showed he can be productive in a reduced role last season. Lastly, Tim Hightower has flashed potential as a power and goal line back with the Cardinals and most recently the Redskins, and would be a cheap replacement for BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
While it is my belief that the Patriots made a mistake in not re-signing the "Law Firm," bringing in any of these backs would definitely help the team absorb the loss and create some nice depth and competition in the backfield.