Shane Vereen appears to have played his final game as a New England Patriot.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the unrestricted free-agent halfback is expected to sign with the New York Giants when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Vereen, 26, was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. And over the Cal Bear’s four seasons with the team since then, he’s tallied 907 yards on 217 carries, 1,023 yards on 159 catches and 14 total touchdowns.
The 5-foot-10, 205-pound dual threat had 96 rushes and 52 receptions in the final year of his rookie contract. He capped it all off with an 11-catch performance on Feb. 1 versus the Seattle Seahawks, marking the most in Super Bowl history for a running back.
Vereen’s versatility out of the backfield and out wide was not truly seen until the free-agent departure of Danny Woodhead in early 2013. But in time, his role grew into an integral part of the Patriots’ two-minute offense, third-down offense, and in some games, every-down offense.
Against teams with sudden pass rush, that quick, underneath dimension proved vital.
As for how the Patriots will look to replace it, the situation may not be unlike it was when Vereen took the reigns two seasons ago. The options start in-house with James White, a fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin last May. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound White took a redshirt year behind No. 34 in 2014, finishing with nine carries and five catches, but gathered 5,450 all-purpose yards over his tenure with the Badgers.
The organization could also be in the market to add a veteran free agent. MassLive’s Kevin Duffy and the Providence Journal‘s Mark Daniels indicate that New England has shown interest in the Washington Redskins’ Roy Helu and the Miami Dolphins’ Daniel Thomas.
Though, as it stands now, the Patriots have six halfbacks under contract for next season, with LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, Brandon Bolden, Dion Lewis, Tyler Gaffney and White all in the fold for training camp.
Former 1,200-yard rusher Stevan Ridley, who was taken one round after Vereen in 2011, is also an unrestricted free agent.