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Patriots, RB Rhamondre Stevenson agree to 4-year, $36 million extension

Andrew Callahan and Doug Kyed, Boston Herald on

Published in Football

BOSTON — Last week, Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson said he felt close to receiving a contract extension.

That deal arrived Thursday.

Stevenson and the Patriots agreed to a 4-year, $36 million extension with $17 million guaranteed, a source confirmed to the Boston Herald. Stevenson will receive an $8 million signing bonus, per the NFL Network, and has an extra $12 million available in incentives, provided he reaches at least 1,400 yards and makes the Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team. The 26-year-old is one of the Patriots’ best players and had been set to hit free agency next spring.

Stevenson is now the NFL’s seventh-highest paid running back by average annual value and total guarantees. He ranks sixth by total contract value, though it’s unknown whether the last season, or seasons, contain any guaranteed money, which would make him a potential cut candidate before the contract expires.

Before an ankle injury hit last December, Stevenson was tracking to lead the team in rushing for a second straight season. Instead, he finished with 619 rushing yards and a team-high four touchdowns over a dozen games. The season before, Stevenson emerged as one of the NFL’s top backs, with 1,040 rushing yards, five touchdowns and a team-leading 69 catches.

Stevenson, a fourth-round pick in 2021, proved to be the Patriots’ most dangerous back as a rookie, forcing then starter Damien Harris into a reserve role the following season. That year, Stevenson broke tackles at an elite rate and carried the offense almost single-handedly as a rusher and pass-catcher. His numbers dipped last year, which the front office apparently deemed to be a result of injury and poor offensive line play.

Patriots coach Jerod Mayo confirmed Stevenson was a priority for the front office, while speaking with reporters at the start of minicamp on June 10.

“I will say this about Rhamondre. I think he’s one of the better backs in the league, it’s no doubt about it,” Mayo said. “I think over the last few years, it’s been kind of tough on him, as far as getting started. So, I’m excited to see what he does this season. And look, he’s earned everything that he gets. He is our starting running back and hopefully we do get something done.”

 

Later that day, Stevenson told reporters he’d lowered his body fat percentage in the offseason after recovering from his high ankle sprain.

“I still weigh the same amount, but it’s just better weight. I got my body fat down, so it’s just better weight,” Stevenson said. “Just a little stricter diet. Nothing too crazy. … Just to make sure my body is ready for the whole season. It’s a long season. I’ve seen what that can get like, so I tried to prepare myself.”

Stevenson added he’d received some advice from teammates about remaining patient while his agent handled negotiations with the front office.

“It’s just a long process. This is how the process goes,” Stevenson said. “First time going through it, but just hearing from all of the other guys. This is how it goes. It’s just a negotiation process.”

Stevenson is the latest in a long line of core veterans to either re-sign or sign an extension this offseason. The Patriots re-signed wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, safety Kyle Dugger, tight end Hunter Henry, outside linebackers Anfernee Jennings and Joshua Uche and offensive tackle Mike Onwenu and extended center David Andrews and Christian Barmore earlier this year.

Stevenson and Antonio Gibson, who signed a 3-year, $11.25 million deal in free agency, figure to lead the Patriots’ running back room for the near future. Their backups include 2022 sixth-rounder Kevin Harris, JaMycal Hasty, Deshaun Fenwick and Terrell Jennings.


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