BOCA RATON – Somewhat buried in the avalanche of last week’s Patriots transactions was the pickup of free agent running back Donald Brown.
If you line up the other acquisitions made – Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, Shea McClellin, Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick – Brown created the smallest buzz. Probably because he’s had the slightest impact.
Over his past two seasons in San Diego, Brown accounted for 144 carries and 452 yards and a touchdown. The (almost) 29-year-old – a first-round pick in 2009 by the Colts – has started just 25 games in seven seasons.
But the team Brown leaves behind thinks that, in New England, Brown is going to find football Valhalla.
“He is such a perfect Patriots signing,” said John Spanos at the NFL Owner’s Meetings on Saturday night. “I would bet anything he’s going to be a productive player for them.”
Why didn’t it work out in San Diego?
“This past year, we drafted Melvin (Gordon) with the 15th pick and we had Woodhead and the opportunities just weren’t there. And before that we had Ryan Mathews. He’s a good player. It just didn’t work out here but I believe it will for him there. Perfect player for them. And he’s a guy who’ll be the first guy in, does his work, does whatever he’s asked and just keeps to himself. He’s one of the players you really root for after they leave.”
The financial outlay for Brown is minimal. It’s a one-year, $965K deal with $300K guaranteed. He’ll come in with the chance to compete for reps in a running back group that includes sub-back Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, James White and Tyler Gaffney. White figures to be the guy that will find himself in immediate and direct competition with Brown.