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Patriots running back and soon-to-be free agent Shane Vereen is reportedly looking for a deal that will pay him $5 million per season.

As Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald reports, the Patriots have historically not paid up when the time has come to re-sign their running backs. The defending Super Bowl champions let LeGarrette Blount walk to Pittsburgh with a two-year, $3.95 million deal but were fortunate enough to get him back at a much cheaper price once the Steelers cut him.

Howe also cites Danny Woodhead as a guy the Patriots refused to pay, as he went to San Diego on a two-year deal in 2013 and then was extended another two years last summer. His extension is worth $7.25 million with a $3 million signing bonus.

Case in point, don't expect to see Vereen re-sign with the Patriots before March 10 when free agency begins. He's going to test the market. But with the recent news that the salary cap will increase another $10 million this year, that could help with bringing Vereen back.

However, the guess here is that the Patriots use that leverage to sign Darrelle Revis to a long-term deal.

Vereen draws similar comparisons to running backs in fast-paced offenses who can catch passes like Darren Sproles of the Philadelphia Eagles or Reggie Bush of the Detroit Lions. Those two are getting paid nicely for their roles in their respective offenses, as Sproles makes a shade over $3 million per season and Bush gets about $4 million.

That will likely be Vereen's market value, and while a $5 million price tag seems to be a bit high for a back like him, there may be some teams out there who are willing to pay that.

Vereen had a career season in 2014. He rushed for 391 yards on 96 carries and also caught 52 passes for 447 yards while scoring five total touchdowns. He also was able to stay healthy all year, as he played in all 16 regular season games and every game in the post-season.

If Vereen wants to stay in New England, however, his price will have to come down. The Patriots have a slew of running backs and James White lurking in the shadows. White is similar to Vereen in the sense that he is elusive and can be a factor in the passing game.

But with how reliable Vereen has been over the years, it would still be tough to see him go.

For more on where Vereen could land, click here.

Follow me on Twitter - @JesseGaunce

For more of my articles, click here.

Jesse Gaunce 2/23/2015 11:38:00 AM Edit
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