Free agent running back Danny Woodhead signed a two-year deal with the Chargers on Friday, leaving the Patriots after almost three full seasons in New England. The undersized Woodhead, who carved out a tremendous niche for himself in the Patriots offense, had 250 carries for 1,199 yards and 92 catches for 982 yards in his time in New England.
Woodhead was an utterly reliable presence with the Patriots, missing just three games in two seasons, and was a dependable presence in the passing game. His target rate was astounding — this past season, he had 40 catches on 55 targets for a 73 percent rate, the best for any New England pass catcher who was targeted at least 10 times. In addition, he became the first running back since Kevin Faulk to finish a season with at least 40 catches and 40 carries — he was the second-leading rusher on the team, finishing with 301 yards on 76 carries, good for a 4.0 yards per carry average.
Going forward, expect the Patriots to rely more on youngster Shane Vereen as a presence out of the backfield in the passing game. Vereen displayed a multidimensional flair late in the season — he had seven carries and five catches in the playoff win over the Texans — and will likely be asked to take over many of the responsibilities that fell to Woodhead over the last few years.
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