While fellow 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn saw his fifth-year contract option exercised by the New England Patriots on Monday, running back Sony Michel will not be under contract beyond the coming season. The Patriots have officially refused to trigger the fifth year of his rookie contract, which means he is now expected to enter free agency in 2022.
Michel originally arrived in New England as the 31st selection in the 2018 Draft and quickly made an impact on the team’s offense. Serving as the team’s return to the start and short distance, he collected 931 rushing yards in his rookie regular season and followed it with one of the best running performances in playoff history. of the NFL.
Behind a dominant offensive line, Michel gained 336 yards and six touchdowns – playing a crucial role in New England in winning the Super Bowl that year. In fact, Michel scored the only touchdown in the Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
As he entered his second season in the league with a lot of momentum, Michel failed to make the infamous sophomore jump and build on what had at times been an encouraging first-season campaign as a than pro. The Georgia product was able to appear in all 17 games and finished the year with a total of 973 rushing yards and seven scores, but he failed to prove he was a difference factor for an offense that made it. really needed.
What followed was a 2020 season which until now was a microcosm of Michel’s career. He appeared in just nine games due to injury, but still gained 449 yards on his 79 carries while leading the team with an average of 5.7 yards per carry. However, he had to take the backseat of sophomore Damien Harris all year.
With Harris seemingly set as the starter in the early-career role, and with the team that had just drafted Rhamondre Stevenson in the fourth round this weekend, the Patriots had little interest in adding the fifth option year. at Michel’s deal at $ 4.52 fully guaranteed. million. As a result, he will play the final year of his Rookie Pact in 2021.
Michel thus becomes one of the nine players who have seen their options decline by their respective clubs.
The others are linebackers Leighton Vander Esch (Dallas Cowboys) and Rashaan Evans (Tennessee Titans), center Billy Price (Cincinnati Bengals), tight end Hayden Hurst (Atlanta Falcons via Baltimore Ravens), running back Rashaad Penny (Seattle Seahawks), defensive tackle Taven Bryan (Jacksonville Jaguars) and defensive backs Terrell Edmunds (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Mike Hughes (Minnesota Vikings). Another player – quarterback Josh Rosen – was ineligible after being knocked out before his rookie deal was closed.