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Preparing for life after Kevin?

Posted by Albert Breer  May 14, 2010 03:02 PM

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As Kevin Faulk discussed his charity softball game this morning, Shalise noted that the "R" word -- Retirement -- reared its head again.

It's natural. Faulk's about to turn 34 and is on a one-year deal. And he's a pretty major part of the team.

He played 496 snaps last year, easily outdistancing the play-time of position mates Laurence Maroney (378) and Sammy Morris (269), while filling a vital role in the passing sets in a most efficient way for the Patriots. But even if Faulk can come back this year, and play to his accustomed level, and Morris and Maroney give that much more, the future of this position is very muddled.

Morris and Fred Taylor are 33 and both have deals that expire after this season. Maroney's rookie contract is up, too, following the 2010 campaign. And if you look at the five favorites to make the roster -- the aforementioned four, plus BenJarvus Green-Ellis (who's unsigned for 2011, but remains under the team's control as a pending RFA) -- there's a good chance New England goes into this season with everyone in this entire position group entering a contract year.

This would explain why the Patriots may have targeted Ryan Mathews, in addition to the now-Chargers rookie to bring a physicality to an offense. It also make sense that, when that possibility passed, a weak crop of running backs kept New England from investing in the position for the future.

So ... with the Patriots having two picks in the first round next year ... Mark Ingram anyone?
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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