The New England Patriots brought back one of their running backs, signing Brandon Bolden to a one-year deal before he became a free agent, according to Field Yates of ESPN. Yates reported that the 28-year-old Bolden signed a contract worth $880,000, with $170,000 in guaranteed money to return for his seventh season with the Patriots. While he played mainly for the special teams, Bolden will provide additional depth to the Patriots backfield when needed, with rushers Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead still unsigned. The Patriots need to sign Lewis and Burkhead before they officially turn free agents on March 14.

Bolden was a primary piece in the Patriots’ ground offense, carrying the ball more than 200 times in his first four seasons before he became a key piece on their special teams, together with Matthew Slater. Last season, he caught 13 passes for 67 yards and scored his only touchdown in their Divisional win over the Tennessee Titans. He was well utilized in the Patriots’ special teams, playing over 60 percent of snaps in 2017. In his career, he rushed the ball 216 times for 912 yards and six touchdowns. He is also a versatile player, catching 47 passes for 373 yards and two scores for the Patriots.

Bolden’s return provides depth

Bolden’s return is crucial for the Patriots, as he gives the team additional depth, with just James White and Mike Gillislee in their backfield.

The Patriots are still trying to reach a deal with both Lewis and Burkhead. According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Lewis may be out of the Patriots’ price range as he wants a deal worth $17 million. Howe said the Patriots will be able to keep Lewis if they offer him a three-year contract with a value of between $15 million and $18 million, with guaranteed money of $10 million.

Lewis has been instrumental in the Patriots’ success with his versatility. A dual-threat rusher, Lewis ran for a career-high 896 yards and six touchdowns and received 32 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns. Lewis also scored a touchdown on one kick return.

Patriots might keep Burkhead

The 27-year-old Burkhead will be an affordable option for the Patriots if they intend to keep him.

Last season, the Patriots signed Burkhead to a one-year deal worth $3.15 million. Burkhead gave the Patriots their money’s worth as he carried the ball 64 times for 264 yards and five touchdowns and tallied 30 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns. However, he was out for seven games, including the playoffs, due to rib and knee injuries. Zach Cox of said the Patriots might keep Burkhead, with Gillislee’s health status for next season still in question.