Today, the NFL’s most dynamic running back announced his retirement.
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Watt will retire as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Wentz is entering his 12th season in the league, and was named to the All-Pro team twice in his career.
He ranks sixth in rushing yards (1,069), 10th in rushing touchdowns (33) and ninth in rushing TDs per game (3.0).
He has 2,936 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns, and has been a key component in a New England offense that has gone 14-2 over the last three seasons.
In a perfect world, Watt would have been the next in line for a Super Bowl ring, but his play in his final year of his contract led to the departure of the Patriots to a much larger salary cap space than expected.
The Patriots also released WR Aaron Dobson and DT Kyle Love, who were both on the team prior to the 2013 season.
The Patriots also re-signed CB Logan Ryan and WR Brandon LaFell, who had a breakout season in 2015.
At the time, there were no obvious successors for the role, and with the Patriots’ cap situation now a little bit more stable, it would have made more sense for the team to just let their superstar walk.
But with a new owner in place, there is no reason to think that will be the case.
Despite the loss of a lot of key pieces, the Patriots have not let the situation get in their way.
With their new ownership, they will be able to spend some of their cap space to rebuild the roster, something they haven’t been able to do since the franchise relocated to Foxborough in 2015, with the franchise having a $10.9 billion cap hit for the next five years.
While there have been rumors that New England may try to bring in another running back in free agency, it will likely be the free agent running back.
There has been talk of the team re-signing veteran running back LeGarrette Blount, who is set to make $5.25 million in 2017.
Blount was the No. 2 running back behind LeGarrett and has played well during his five-year career.
The two of them combined for 1,835 yards, 16 TDs, and 10 INTs in their four-year span together.
It is clear that the Patriots need to make a move to add some speed and athleticism to their team, and they will have to be patient with what they get for their first-round pick, but there are some players who could be available in free agencies.
Defensive end Michael Bennett is expected to hit the open market.
He has been one of the most consistent defensive linemen in the NFL for several years now, and the Patriots should not have any issues bringing him back.
Bennett’s production in 2017 was his lowest since he had the biggest season of his career in 2016.
Bennett has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, and there are no guarantees that he will be ready to go in 2018.
Rookie linebacker Shea McClellin is coming off a season in which he had a Pro Bowl selection.
McClels career numbers include 13.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles, seven pass breakups, and five fumble recoveries.
He has had an up-and-down season as of late, but he has been the team’s most reliable linebacker in 2017, and is still the team ‘s most consistent tackler.
McClosin is a versatile player, and he can play anywhere on the defensive line, and could be a great addition to the team.
If the Patriots don’t bring in a running back, they could look to free agency to address the position.
Although the Patriots are going to be on the outside looking in with the 2018 draft, there are still some names on the free agency market that could make an impact.
WR DeAndre Hopkins has had a stellar season for the Houston Texans, and although he has struggled with drops, he is one of Houston’s better receivers.
The Texans drafted Hopkins in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Hopkins has been inconsistent this season, but has been consistent enough to earn a starting spot for the Texans.
Hopkins had an amazing season in 2016, with 2,894 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.
He had six receiving touchdowns in 2016 alone.
For a team that will likely have to start using their first round pick on a runningback, it is not a bad move to move on from a potential star running back who may not even make it back in the first round.
A running back can make a difference in a team’s offense, and Watt was one of those players for the Patriots.
He was the team MVP in 2016 and led the league in rushing last season with 1,9