BOSTON (CBS) — With Sony Michel set for an MRI on Monday after being carted off the field during Sunday’s victory over the Bears, the New England Patriots are a bit thin at running back.

It doesn’t look good for Michel, who suffered what appears to be a nasty leg injury in the second quarter in Chicago. The rookie’s left leg bent awkwardly as he was tackled by Chicago’s Bilal Nichols, forcing Michel to fumble on the play and hit the field in pain. He couldn’t put any pressure on his leg and had to be helped off the field.

Michel’s departure left New England with just James White and Kenjon Barner at running back, along with fullback James Develin. White was his usual self Sunday afternoon, rushing for 40 yards on 11 carries while hauling in eight passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. In his expanded role, Barner ran for 36 yards on 10 carries.

But as the Patriots approach the midway point of the season, only having two running backs on the roster is not going to cut it. They’ve already lost two backs in Jeremy Hill (torn ACL in Week 1) and Rex Burkhead (placed on IR in Week 4 with a neck injury), though there’s only a chance that Burkhead returns. Even if he does make his way back to the field, he shouldn’t be counted on to contribute much given his injury history.

So over the next few weeks, you better believe Bill Belichick will be scouring the free agent market and working the phones in attempts to bolstering New England’s depth at the position. Here are a few potential players who could find themselves on the New England roster in the near future.

Mike Gillislee

The veteran back was released by New Orleans a few weeks ago and worked out with the Pats shortly after, but no deal was reached. We’ll see if that changes now that the Patriots have lost another body to carry the ball.

Ameer Abdullah

The 2015 second-round pick has just one carry this season, as Abdullah finds himself behind rookie Kerryon Johnson, Theo Riddick and LeGarrette Blount on Matt Patricia’s depth chart. He ran for 552 yards and four touchdowns out of the Detroit backfield last season, so maybe Bill will give his former assistant a call about swinging a trade in the near future.

LeGarrette Blount

Why not? How about a third go-around for Blount and the Patriots. It’s worked out so well

Devontae Booker

Like Abdullah, Booker finds himself behind a pair of younger runners on the Denver depth chart. Rookies Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay are the featured backs out of the Denver offense, with the 26-year-old Booker getting just 13 carries through the first seven games of the season.

DeAndre Washington

The third-year back is on the bottom of a crowded depth chart in Oakland, behind Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin and Jalen Richard. Lynch is expected to miss some time with a groin injury, but Washington has yet to take a handoff this season. With Oakland’s season circling the drain, maybe Jon Gruden will find a way to land a draft pick with his crowded backfield.

Jacquizz Rodgers

In his eighth NFL season, Rodgers is sitting behind rookies Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones on the Tampa Bay depth chart. He has 21 yards on 12 carries with another 54 yards on seven receptions. He isn’t part of the future plans in Tampa, so it shouldn’t take more than a late-round pick to pry him from the Bucs.

Alfred Morris

Morris has actually racked up some stats this season, rushing for 253 yards and a touchdown on his 71 carries (for an average of just 3.6 yards per carry). He is a shell of his former self but would give New England a veteran back who can take some handoffs. Plus, John Lynch kind of owes Bill Belichick for that Garoppolo swap last year.

Le’Veon Bell

Haha, good one. There is a 0.0 percent chance of Bill Belichick giving up a second-round pick for the disgruntled Bell, and an even smaller chance of the Steelers sending Bell to a team they’re always chasing. Plus, Bell’s big salary is no match for New England.

Kenneth Farrow

We all know this is how it will end. The Patriots will sign the 5-foot-11, 216-pound Farrow from the practice squad. The 25-year-old played in 13 games for the San Diego Chargers in 2016, rushing for 192 yards on 60 carries.

Ralph Webb

The Preseason Hall of Famer is available after being released from the New England practice squad earlier this month.

Comments (2)
  1. Sheldon Kennedy says:

    Although I don’t know how the Patriots make their personnel decisions, I thought Ralph Webb and Gillislee looked good in preseason.

    1. Rusty Tuney says:

      Ralph Webb needs to be on the roster before another team grabs him. #6 all time SEC rushing, #1 all time Vandy rusher. Webb is oozing with talent and will be as good or better than James White if given the chance.

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