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Report: Patriots Sign Versatile RB Antonio Gibson

The Patriots are reportedly signing a versatile receiving back to pair with Rhamondre Stevenson in the backfield. 

Former Commanders RB Antonio Gibson
Former Commanders RB Antonio Gibson

The Patriots are on the board with their first reported signing of the NFL's league tampering period, signing former Washington running back Antonio Gibson on a three-year contract.

After being selected in the third round by the Commanders in the 2020 NFL Draft, Gibson has been a versatile offensive playmaker for Washington. With 4.39-speed, Gibson was a position-flexible player coming out of the University of Memphis. Teams viewed the 25-year-old as a running back who could also play wide receiver, and his usage in Washington reflects that versatility. Over four seasons with the Commanders, Gibson had 174 catches as primarily a passing-down back. Last season, Gibson had 48 catches for 389 yards and two touchdowns.

Gibson is an effective vertical route runner out of the backfield or flexed out wide, where he logged 22 snaps from wide receiver spots in 2023. Gibson caught his lone go-ball target with a 41-yard reception shown above and had two catches on wheel routes last season. Furthermore, the Pats newest reported addition was an effective screen back, averaging over eight yards per target on screens with +60 yards after catch over expectation. 

For years, the Patriots have relied heavily on receiving backs factoring into their passing game from Kevin Faulk to James White. Although their offensive system will change under new OC Alex Van Pelt, it seems New England would like to pair lead-back Rhamondre Stevenson with a more explosive pass-catcher. Stevenson will likely still be the Pats featured back on early downs, while Gibson gives them a more dynamic receiver in obvious passing situations. 

Along with his contributions as a receiver, it's worth noting that Gibson has good breakaway speed to fit a zone rushing system. Out of his 65 carries, 45 of Gibson's rush attempts were on zone schemes. Assuming he'll be on the field mostly in sub-packages, Gibson is a spread back that can take advantage of larger rushing lanes to get into space, where he forced 16 missed tackles on his 65 attempts for Washington a year ago. 

The Patriots have undergone an overhaul on the offensive coaching staff this offseason, but Gibson has been on our radar since the 2020 NFL Draft. In fact, Gibson was a big board target for both myself and fellow Patriots.com writer Mike Dussault. Although things are very different in Foxborough, it goes to show that certain players will always fit the mold. 

Gibson might not be a "splash" signing for the Patriots as their first external addition in the legal tampering period, but it fills a need in the Pats backfield.

DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer

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