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Dolphins Offering RB Lamar Miller Around $5 Million Per Year; Patriots Should Enter Market

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Per the Miami Herald, the market for free agent running back Lamar Miller is around $5 million per season. The Dolphins would like to pay less. Miller, of course, wants more.

The New England Patriots should jump into the running back market with both feet.

Miller is one of four premier running backs on the market, along with Doug Martin, Matt Forte, and Chris Ivory. If the market truly pivots around $5 million per year, the Patriots should absolutely be interested in the services of one of these backs.

All four players can run and catch at a high level, which separates them from the next tier of free agents, such as LeGarrette Blount and Alfred Morris (neither can catch) or Bilal Powell (inconsistent runner).

While it's very likely that Blount will be available for less than half the price, the value added by these other players could very well make the contract worth the money.

Forte has averaged 108.0 yards per game (YPG) over the past two seasons, which trails only the Steelers' Le'Veon Bell (with a ridiculous 132.1 YPG). He is 30-years-old, so he could be cheaper than the other players, but he also comes with the most wear-and-tear.

Martin and Miller are tied with for the 8th most yards per game over the past two seasons. Martin had a tremendous contract year and is still 27-years-old. He has plenty of upside and will likely far surpass the $5 million mark.

Miller, who will be 25-years-old, was more consistent over the past two seasons than Martin. He was grossly underutilized by the Dolphins, with a mere 15.5 touches per game- the lowest total of the four backs (Forte: 21.7; Martin: 17.3; Ivory: 15.9) and is looking to join an offense where he could receive 20 touches per game. He offers tremendous untapped potential.

Ivory will probably see the cheapest contract of the quartet because his production level was lower than his counterparts; 2015 was the first time he cracked 1,000 yards from scrimmage in his career. He's also going to be 28-years-old, which makes Miller and Martin more desireable.

If Miller is really around the $5 million mark, then perhaps Ivory is more attainable than we think. I initially placed Ivory at $7 million per season because that was close to the Panthers' Jonathan Stewart- and it's comfortably between what the elite bellcow backs and what the rotational players earn.

If Ivory could be available for $4 million per season, then that should be within the Patriots striking distance. If the team really wishes to revamp its rushing attack, Ivory could team with Dion Lewis to take the backfield to the next level.