Just a few hours before the official opening of free agency and the new league year, Patriots running back Shane Vereen has reportedly reached an agreement to sign with the New York Giants.
According to NFL Network and others, Vereen has reached an agreement in principle with the Giants, one that can't become finalized until free agency officially opens at 4 p.m.
Vereen will reportedly then ink a four-year, $16 million deal with the Giants.
The former second-round pick had a career year in what was apparently his final season in New England. Vereen was second on the Patriots with 391 yards rushing on a team-high 96 carries with a pair of scores. He also ranked fourth on the team with 52 catches for 447 yards and another three touchdowns. Vereen played in 16 games for the first time in his career and then went on to have a solid postseason, including a game-high 11 receptions in Super Bowl XLIX.
Vereen's apparent departure leaves the Patriots a bit thin on the depth chart in terms of the third-down/passing-back role. James White was a fourth-round pick last spring who compares skill-wise to Vereen, but was active for just three games as a rookie.
Other options for the role might be Dion Lewis or Brandon Bolden, although in all likelihood the team will look to add a veteran via free agency.
The team has already reportedly been linked to Redskins free agent Roy Helu, while Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas would also be feasible options on the open market.