15 March, 2017
In 2016, Burkhead played in all 16 games with one start and had 74 carries for 344 yards and two touchdowns and 17 receptions for 145 yards.
The Patriots now have three running backs with similar skill sets in Dion Lewis, James White and Burkhead. LeGarrette Blount, who rushed for 18 touchdowns last season, remains a free agent.
Burkhead made the most of that opportunity and ran for 119 yards and two scores on 27 carries.
The Bengals also had concerns about Burkhead's durability as a lead running back, a role now occupied by Hill, who had injury problems of his own last season with a shoulder/chest issue and a knee ailment.
While Lewis was hurt, White stepped up as the complementary running back to Blount.
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Burkhead took on a more significant role in the final six games of the season after Bernard tore his ACL.
He can be used on early downs or in a pass-catching role, and he has the agility to potentially split out as a receiver at times.
Although Bernard and Hill have shared running back duties for several years now, that won't stop the Bengals from exploring their options at the position. And with the addition of Cooks to go with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola, in an offense led by Tom Brady, there's going to be plenty of points scored, along with open running lanes. Perhaps the Patriots saw a glimpse of what Burkhead is capable during that performance.
Burkhead was clearly stuck down the depth chart in Cincinnati. It's already messy enough.