Stevan Ridley is a very talented running back. Since being drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft, he has had over 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns in his career. Unfortunately for him, all of his accomplishments in the league have been overshadowed by fumbling issues.
In his short career, Ridley has put the ball on the ground eight times, losing five of them. In the league today, you cannot afford to turn the football over given the tendency for offense to trump good defense. Additionally, running backs are now taking back seats to quarterbacks and it is no longer necessary to run the football consistently to win games anymore.
The Patriots are also in very good shape at the running back position in terms of depth. If Ridley continues fumbling, the team should not think twice about benching him. Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount are all capable running back replacements and could probably start for other teams.
Given how well the Cleveland Browns have made out from the Trent Richardson trade so far, the Patriots should try to secure a decent draft pick in 2014 for Ridley when trades are allowed to resume. Despite his fumble issues, there is likely a team out there that believes he can be rehabilitated and would pay top dollar for his services. If the Patriots can move him, they should explore the opportunity.
The team has Tom Brady under center and they could use the pick to help him, whether it be on defense, or to strengthen a pass-catching core that outside of Rob Gronkowski and Vereen has had it’s fair share of growing pains.