The 2015 New England Patriots struggled with injuries throughout the season. One of the most underrated yet most impactful one was suffered by fullback James Develin, who broke his right tibia during preseason and had to be placed on injured reserve. While the Patriots had some mild success with tight end Michael Williams and fullback Joey Iosefa as fullback, the running game was not the same without Develin as the lead blocker.
As a result, New England re-signed the former undrafted free agent to a one-year contract during last offseason. The deal proved to be a good one for both sides: The Patriots kept their fullback while Develin was able to reestablish himself as one of the best players in the NFL at his position.
Now, both sides are back to were they were last season: Negotiating on keeping their relationship going. And according to Jason LaCanfora, it should do just that:
Fully expect FB James Develin to re-sign with Pats in the next few days. Local kid will end up staying home
While Develin was only a part-time contributor – playing 421 of a possible 1,362 snaps this season (30.9%) –, he is an important cog in New England’s offensive machinery. He not only works as the lead blocker in the running game but also serves as a backup tight end. Furthermore, the 28-year old also sees regular playing time on special teams.
Re-signing Develin, probably to a two- or three-year contract with a per-year-average of a bit more than $1.0 million, makes therefore sense for the Patriots. The team will keep its fullback at what projects to be a relatively modest price tag, while the player will stay in a familiar environment and with a team that has shown a willingness to use a fullback despite the NFL’s focus on the passing game.