Patriots To Sign Free Agent Running Back Joseph Addai

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 4: Joseph Addai #29 of the Indianapolis Colts is stopped by Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With the NFL Draft in the books and team mini camps just a few days away, the only need the New England Patriots hadn't addressed was the hole that BenJarvus Green-Ellis left in the team's backfield. On Saturday, it appears that the team addressed that need in a big way.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, the New England Patriots have reached an agreement with free agent running back Joseph Addai on a contract. Addai, 30, has played for he Indianapolis Colts his entire career and has totaled 4,453 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns in his six-year NFL career.

Addai was a part of a group of players such as Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday and Gary Brackett that were released by owner Jim Irsay in efforts to clean house for the incoming Andrew Luck. For the Patriots, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

With the addition of Addai, the Patriots now have a strong veteran presence that they lost when the 'Law Firm' moved on to Ohio. Although injuries have plagued him over the last two seasons, Addai has shown flashes of greatness when healthy. His best season came in 2007 with the Colts, as he totaled 1,072 yards on the ground, 12 touchdowns, and a Pro-Bowl selection. However, his last full season in the league was in 2009, when he posted similar numbers.

The question with Mr. Addai will be his health. In 2010, he battled a shoulder injury that limited him to just eight starts. He also ran into injury trouble again in 2011, as he suffered through a sore hamstring and was only allotted 12 starts.

If healthy, he can provide some of the same things the BenJarvus Green-Ellis gave us as a reliable short-yardage back who fights for the extra yards and rarely fumbles. He also will also fill the role as mentor to the younger backs such as 2011 draft picks Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, who are still developing as players. Not to mention, Addai has a Super Bowl ring to his name.

If Addai is able to stay healthy, this is a great signing by the Patriots. With that, it appears that this will be the final major roster decision by Bill Belichick has been made until training camp. All and all, another great signing by Belichick and company.

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