Patriots gridiron news: Dion Lewis loves New England, but knows ‘it’s a business’

Labeled as one of the prized unrestricted free agents this offseason, running back Dion Lewis has expressed his interest in returning to the New England Patriots.

Dion Lewis will always have love for the team that took a chance on him.  That’s why when it comes to his future with the New England Patriots, the 27-year-old running back hopes things work out contractually.

But, where there is hope, there is reality.

Appearing on Adam Schefter’s podcast, Lewis discussed his future with team with an understanding of the business nature of the NFL.

“We’ll see,” Lewis said regarding a possible return to New England.  “It’s a business.  I love it here.  I’ve grown great relationships in this area.  The past three years have been great.  I’m close to home – I can get to New York in two-and-a-half hours, so I’m real close to my family.  So things are perfect.  But at the same time, it’s a business.”

Finishing with 180 carries for 896 yards and six touchdowns in his first full season with the team, Lewis went on to say that he has to take care of himself and his family. That means making sure he is valued and makes the most out of his opportunity.

With the amount of money he is projected to draw on the open market, it’s unlikely the Patriots will be in the running.  Of course, there is the possibility his salary demands will be too high for any team.  That’s where the Patriots could find a way to entice him back with a contract that satisfies both sides.

We’ve seen this happen with other players through the years.  Most notably, Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower a season ago.  At the same time, we’ve also witnessed team lose running backs like Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead and LeGarrette Blount by way of free agency, which is an indication that the team emphasizes less value on the position and not necessarily the player.

In all, Dion Lewis knows he has a lot to give to whichever team backs up the Brinks truck.  He has definitely proved his worth and value with the Patriots and will soon see how it pays off in free agency.

“I think I have a lot to give,” Lewis said.  “I think my career is just getting started, especially these last three years.  My first three years in the league, I didn’t even really get to play, so I didn’t take many hits.  These past three years is the only opportunity I’ve had to get on the field, so my body feels great.  My legs feel good.  I don’t feel 27.  I feel 22, 23.”

New York Jets showing interest in Malcolm Butler

It sounds like Malcolm Butler could stay in the AFC East next season.

As reported by Calwin Watkins of Newsday via Twitter, the New York Jets will look into to signing Butler as an unrestricted free agent.

This is no big surprise as the Jets typically go after New England Patriots free agents.  They kicked the tires of Dont’a Hightower a year ago even though they didn’t have a huge need at the position.

While it is unclear what kind of market Butler will draw, the Jets have the cap space and could be a nice fit for a player who had a down season.