With Shane Vereen having already departed for the New York Giants, the Patriots’ turnover at the running back position doesn’t appear to be over.
According to reports from NFL Media's Ian Rapoport and ESPN's Adam Schefter, former Patriot Stevan Ridley will sign with the New York Jets. The New York Daily News’ Seth Walder and Manish Mehta reported last week that the free agent had visited with the Jets and left without a deal, but would “likely end up with the Jets or [Miami] Dolphins.” Ridley reportedly visited with the Dolphins as well, a team that could use some running back depth behind 1,000-yard rusher Lamar Miller.
Later on Wednesday, Ridley posted the following photo to Instagram, confirming that he is headed to the Jets.
Sending love to all my day one fans, and every teammate I've had the pleasure to take the field with. We all know it's a business, yet it's also a blessing. So either way you see it, you'll never understand. Love New England, Love my former teammates, and I'm truly thankful for the opportunity the Patriot's organization has blessed me with. However it's #ontotheJETS
Taken by the Patriots in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Ridley had a breakout sophomore season in 2012, rushing for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns as the Patriots’ feature back. Ball security issues plagued his time in New England however, as fumbles in three consecutive games from Nov. 3 through Nov. 24, 2013 led to a benching Week 13 against the Houston Texans, and he was passed on the depth chart in favor of Vereen and LeGarrette Blount.
Ridley’s problems holding on to the ball appeared to have subsided in 2014, however. The fourth-year running back put together a pretty good start to the year, rushing for 340 yards in six games – including 100-yard outings against the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals – while not fumbling the ball once. A torn ACL he suffered against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 ended his 2014 season – and perhaps his Patriots tenure.
The Patriots 2015 running back corps is projected to be led by Blount, while Travaris Cadet and James White will likely compete to fill the void left by Vereen as a pass-catching, third down back. Other running backs also on the Patriots roster include Brandon Bolden, Tyler Gaffney, Jonas Gray, Dion Lewis and fullback James Develin.