The New England Patriots and Eliot Wolf have continued their philosophy of keeping homegrown talent in town. Rhamondre Stevenson is the latest beneficiary of that philosophy. 

Stevenson and the Patriots agreed to a four-year, $36 million deal with $17 million guaranteed on Thursday, according to several reports. As the running back was entering the final season of his rookie contract, the Patriots will now have their lead running back secured through the end of the 2028 season. Stevenson also hinted that the deal was coming earlier in June, telling reporters that both sides were close to an agreement during minicamp.

Now that the deal is done, let’s grade it!

Grading the Patriots’ extension for Rhamondre Stevenson

New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) celebrates his rushing touchdown against the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In this day and age, running backs seem to be less valuable than ever. Just last year, Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, and others had problems securing multi-year extensions from their respective teams, leading to plenty of veteran running backs to move teams over the last year.

The vast majority of teams often split the workload among multiple running backs. They’re also largely replaceable, with most of the top running backs in recent years being selected after the first two rounds (Kyren Williams, David Montgomery, and Da’Von Achane are all just a few recent examples).

So, at first glance, the Patriots' decision to extend Stevenson seems a bit puzzling. When you look at his production relative to what he’ll get paid at his position, it looks a little bit more confusing, too. He’s never finished in the top 10 in rushing, yet he’s set to become the seventh-highest-paid running back on an annual basis, trailing Christian McCaffrey, Barkley, Jacobs, Jonathan Taylor, and others. He’s also coming off a 619-yard season where he rushed for just four yards per carry over 12 games before an ankle injury ended his season.

Looking at those numbers, it’s totally understandable to think that Stevenson’s contract is an overpay, especially when you consider positional value.

However, the Patriots retaining Stevenson at least ensures that they have their best skill position player from the last few seasons on their roster for the foreseeable future. Sure, that’s not a high bar to clear in the slightest. But his 2022 season was legitimately good. He was efficient as a runner (1,040 yards on five yards per carry) and became a weapon in the passing game (had a team-high 69 receptions for 421 yards) while shouldering an unprecedented burden for a running back during Bill Belichick’s time with the team.

Last season wasn’t great, and it’s reasonable to have concerns about just how effective Stevenson can be moving forward considering the fragility of running backs. But when he had his last fully healthy season, he was one of the best running backs in the league.

The Patriots are also banking on Stevenson to flourish under new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt’s system. Van Pelt’s system helped Nick Chubb emerge as one of the game’s running backs over the offensive coordinator’s four-year stint with the Cleveland Browns.

Stevenson has watched Chubb’s tape this offseason, hoping he can replicate what the star running back has done in Cleveland over the last few years in 2024.

“Seeing him running all throughout defenses with it, the linemen are on the right course, everything looks well put together,” Stevenson told reporters at minicamp. “I hope we can get that done this year.”

If Stevenson winds up performing at the same level as Chubb, a $9 million salary for that sort of production will be minuscule as the salary cap approaches $300 million.

Grade: B