First reported by NFL Insider Jordan Schultz and later confirmed by multiple other outlets, the Patriots will host free agent Ezekiel Elliott on a visit over the weekend as they look to address a depleted running back room.
After the pre-camp release of spring signing James Robinson, then an apparent injury to Ty Montgomery, an addition to the position group makes a lot of sense and something that was forecasted as we wrapped up Friday's Patriots Unfiltered's live practice coverage.
The Patriots are usually a team to overstock their running back depth, now, just three practices into camp they're down to only four.
Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette are other names that remain on the open market and likely not for long. Elliott is coming off the least productive season of his career, the first time he failed to surpass 1,000 total yards, but is still a big-bodied and balanced back who would fit nicely in the running back room as a complementary piece.
Elliott was the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 draft and led the league in rushing in two of his first three seasons. His production has dipped over the last three seasons but still scored 12 touchdowns last fall and could be an effective weapon for an offense that could use another red-zone threat like Zeke.
Rhamondre Stevenson had to carry too much of the load in 2022, and after Damien Harris' departure already thinned their depth before Robinson was released and Montgomery got hurt, four backs are not enough when it's not even August yet.
Bill Belichick called Montgomery "day to day" before the intriguing back became the first injury-related missed practice of the year. Once again, Montgomery had been productive in a number of roles in the Patriots offensive attack right out of the gate, and seeing the injury bug hit him again is disappointing.
Pierre Strong has spent some time with the first-team offense through three days, but Kevin Harris and J.J. Taylor have also flashed in work with the back-ups, though it's tough to really evaluate RBs in training camp in general. Joint practices and preseason games will be the most telling. Roles and roster spots are still very much up for grabs in this group with only Stevenson currently atop the depth chart.
Even if Elliott is not signed, it seems likely the team will land another running back soon.