Anybody who knows anything about football knows Bill Belichick’s style. He loves taking advantage of certain players who were overlooked by other teams, and turning them into players who fit right in with the system of the New England Patriots. If Belichick believes an inexperienced veteran in search of a team can contribute to his team, he won’t hesitate to snag that player right up.
I’m not saying anything will become of it, but just for everyone’s notice, the Panthers recently released running back Jonathan Stewart after 10 years with the team. Despite Stewart being the leading rusher for Carolina last season, they opted to go with the younger and more affordable Christian McCaffrey as their primary running back going forward.
That leaves Stewart, who had been a member of the Panthers ever since getting drafted by them in the first round of the 2008 draft, as a free agent looking for a home for the 2018 season. If the Patriots were to jump on the opportunity to pick up Stewart, it wouldn’t come without risk. He has had a history of injuries throughout his career; in his 10-year career thus far, he has only played three full seasons, and he has not had a 1,000-yard rushing season since 2009.
But nevertheless, Stewart, who will be 31 years old going into the 2018 season, is still Carolina’s all-time leading rusher, having amassed 7,318 yards on 1,699 carries.
Will Belichick have his eye on Stewart? It’s hard to tell. But it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he sees this as an opportunity to add an elite rusher in the backfield to go along with Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. And if Belichick shows interest, Stewart could view it as a chance to join a perennial contender in hopes of winning his first Super Bowl ring.
It might happen, it might not happen. But it wouldn’t be unlike Belichick to make a move here.