Sony Michel is heading to the Chargers
What could have been...Michel is now on his third team since the Patriots didn't re-sign him in 2021. PIC: Sam Navarro, USA TODAY Sports
I'll admit, I was not the happiest camper when the Pats didn't elect to bring back their 2018 first round draft pick less than two years ago.
Sony Michel was a guy you just loved to root for as a Pats fan. During his time at Georgia, he constantly was put on the back-burner to Nick Chubb, always perceived as the "lesser" of the two in the elite running back tandem. But he routinely shattered his expectations - rushing for 840 yards as a junior, and over 1200 as a senior with Jake Fromm at the controls of the offense.
And, who can forget the 2018 Rose Bowl? It's the first game ever of the College Football Playoff, and it's an absolute slugfest between the #3 Bulldogs and #2 Oklahoma. Then, it's a direct snap to Michel and a date with Alabama in the national title game.
Michel's career with the Patriots was solid. He rushed for over 2,200 yards in three years, was the clear leader of a core that featured James White and Rex Burkhead, and gave the New England backfield some major stability. But with the growing notion that he'd demand a large contract, it circulated that the Pats wouldn't be re-signing him.
Sure enough, the reports were right. Michel was traded at the beginning of the 2021 season to the LA Rams for two picks in the 2022 draft, which they spent rounding out their practice squad roster this year. He certainly had his opportunity to succeed; the Rams had Cam Akers out for a good chunk of the season, and Darrell Henderson was unproven. Michel oddly enough led the team with 845 rushing yards, followed closely by Henderson with over 600. But, let's get real - the Rams were not a team that relied on the running backs when Cooper Kupp was on the field.
Of course, Michel's contract was up after the Rams won the Super Bowl back in February. With a murky future ahead in LA, the Dolphins snatched him up, but he didn't even make the 53-man roster with concerns about his lingering knee injuries over the years.
Now, the Chargers add Michel as a backup to Austin Ekeler, the clear-cut #1 in the backfield. It's unclear if he'll be employed as a third-down back, or as a ground-and-pound type. But one thing is for sure, Michel might have to get comfortable with spending this stage of his career as a backup.