April 23, 2024

Dion Lewis had his most productive statistical season since entering the league in 2011. Hampered by injuries in ’15 and ’16, Lewis was fully healthy in 2017, appearing in all 16 games. He led the team in carries (180), rushing yards (896) and rushing TDs (6). On top of that, he logged 32 catches on 35 targets (91% catch rate), accumulating 214 receiving yards and three TDs. That’s not all – he had 23 kick returns posting 570 return yards and one TD. Overall, Lewis posted 1,680 all-purpose yards! That ranked 6th best in the NFL. Not too shabby in a contract year.

Early on in his career, Lewis didn’t see much playing time in Philly as he was buried on the depth chart behind LeSean McCoy and Ronnie Brown. In 2013, he was traded to the Browns appearing only during the pre-season after fracturing his fibula. He was placed on IR and was later cut at the end of the season. He signed with the Patriots in 2015, became the starting RB Week 1 due to a LeGarrette Blount suspension and just three games later, signed a two-year extension through 2017.

Needless to say, when Lewis is healthy, he has been highly productive and effective in the Patriots’ system. However, there have been several RBs that have shined in the Patriots scheme over the years. Is Lewis a high-caliber RB or just a product of the Patriots offensive system? That’s a difficult question to answer and I think NFL teams will have a tough time valuing Lewis this upcoming offseason.

Three factors the Browns will consider with Dion Lewis in FA: age, injury history and team/scheme fit. He will turn 28 next season. Most teams won’t offer a long-term contract to a RB approaching age 30. He hasn’t been the staple of durability – he appeared in only seven games in both of his first two seasons with the Patriots. Lastly, is Lewis’s productivity transferable in a different offensive system? In general, I think the NFL is utilizing more pass-catching RBs than ever before. Dion Lewis’ strength is his versatility. This bodes well for Lewis, but should the Browns offer Lewis a contract this off-season?

It will depend on how rest of FA market shakes out but, in my opinion, Lewis is highly underrated and over-shadowed by Tom Brady, Gronk and the fact the Patriots use a RB by committee approach. He will be a sought-after free-agent; however, the Browns currently have Duke Johnson and Matt Dayes under contract for next season. Both Dayes and Johnson are younger, yet comparable versions of Lewis that at the moment come a discount to what Lewis may command during FA. They’ll need more time to develop, but I am optimistic about their futures. Having said that, I don’t think the Browns will be in the running for Lewis and will look to address any RB needs through the draft, which is loaded and deep this year.

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