The Patriots have shown interest in receiving back Roy Helu. (NFL Game Rewind)

The Patriots have reportedly shown interest in receiving back Roy Helu. (NFL Game Rewind)

With Shane Vereen set to enter unrestricted free agency, the future surrounding the third-down role in the New England Patriots’ offense is unsolidified. The organization has, however, taken interest in another free-agent running back suited to fulfill it.

According to MassLive’s Kevin Duffy and the Providence Journal‘s Mark Daniels, that back is former Washington Redskin Roy Helu.

Helu, 26, has played in 48 regular-season games since arriving in Washington as a fourth-round pick via Nebraska in 2011. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound rusher has doubled as a receiver over that time, tallying 1,152 yards on 129 catches, 1,132 yards on 255 carries and 10 total touchdowns.

He set the Redskins’ single-game franchise record for receptions, with 14 against the San Franchisco 49ers during his rookie season. And during his fourth season, he netted 42 receptions for 477 yards, with his 11.4-yard average marking the most of any back in the league.

Helu stood second-in-command behind Alfred Morris in Washington’s backfield, garnering a total of 40 carries for 216 yards and a 5.4-yard average this past season. But his value out of the backfield is what should draw attention when the market officially opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The Patriots will be among the teams watching.