The Patriots recently restructured Rex Burkhead's contract. More accurately, it's a paycut, which increases his odds of remaining on the roster in 2020. But it doesn't guarantee it. It will be good news for New England's other running backs if the Patriots do part ways.
The move drops Burkhead's base salary from $2.5 million to $1 million, converting $550k into a signing bonus. That's not chump change, but it's also not so much that New England wouldn't be willing to eat it if necessary, if they decide they're comfortable with just Sony Michel, Damien Harris and James White (and perhaps an undrafted free agent). Burkhead wouldn't have agreed to this restructure if he weren't in danger of being cut. Less likely to happen now.
Fantasy GMs may have fond memories of Burkhead helping them win a random week here or there, but a spin through the game log indicates those games are rare -- and mostly in the distant past.
Burkhead has appeared in 31 games for the Patriots the last three years. In just 12 of those has he produced double-digit fantasy points (PPR), and half of them occurred in 2017. In 13 of those 31 games he's scored 6 or fewer points. In the last two seasons he's had six contests where he helped fantasy lineups; three each season.
|REX BURKHEAD GAME LOG, 2017-2019|
New England will use a committee; we know that. Sony Michel should be the main runner and James White the main player on passing downs. Damien Harris looks like the correct Michel handcuff, and Burkhead the correct White handcuff. White, though, has missed a total of 5 games the last five seasons.
If I'm using a last-round pick on a Patriots running back, give me Harris every time.