The Patriots have re-signed Brandon Bolden on a one-year deal that includes a base salary of $790,000. Why does the move matter? Here's a quick look at how this impacts the Patriots moving forward . . .
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1) Bolden's new deal gives the Patriots the opportunity to return one of their core special teamers in 2018. While there are significant needs on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball for Bill Belichick's team, there are also areas in the kicking game that need to be addressed this offseason. Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner, Marquis Flowers and Johnson Bademosi are all scheduled to hit free agency, and Brandon King will be a restricted free agent. With Bolden, the Patriots have one of their top kick-coverage players back for next season. The Patriots were the top team in the league when it came to opponent average starting field position in 2017 due in part to their effective kick-coverage units.
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2) The 2018 running back number for the Patriots now sits at three. Bolden is not a significant part of New England's offensive plan. He played just 49 offensive snaps, including playoffs, last season. But he did score a touchdown in the Divisional Round against the Titans and he saw one red-zone snap in the Super Bowl against the Eagles. The Patriots have turned to Bolden in the past to take on some of the running back workload (68 carries in 2015, 55 in 2013, 56 in 2012), and so he may be viewed as an emergency stop-gap moving forward. Before Bolden's signing, the only Patriots backs under contract for 2018 were James White and Mike Gillislee.
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3) The move is a cost-effective way to maintain some consistency. The Patriots got this deal done quickly, well before the start of the new league year, and it won't hurt them when it comes to the salary cap. Bolden, 28, is reportedly receiving $170,000 guaranteed, and his cap number will be $720,000. The Patriots still have a long way to go in terms of filling some of the holes on their roster, but re-signing Bolden is one of the first small step in ensuring there's some continuity on their special teams units from 2017 to 2018.