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Mile High Maroney


In a less than stunning development, NFL Network’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Patriot running back Laurence Maroney has been shipped to Denver for the Bronco’s 2011 4th round pick, with the Broncos receiving in return the Patriots’ 6th round selection in 2011.

Maroney, who has battled injuries his entire NFL career, now finds himself reunited with Head Coach Josh McDaniels. He should also find himself relegated to a near term RB3 role behind starter Knowshon Moreno and aging veteran Correll Buckhalter.

The oft injured back was seemingly in Bill Belichick’s doghouse as often as he was on the injury list, most recently due to trust issues surrounding ball security. In true Patriot fashion, that’s something that Belichick never formally acknowledged, though.

In Denver, Maroney adds veteran insurance, but isn’t likely to get touches unless the aforementioned Moreno or Buckhalter miss time due to injury themselves.  Looking beyond 2010, Maroney’s addition is likely writing on the wall for Buckhalter.

Here’s the impact for other Patriot and Bronco players:

New England Patriots

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB

The Patriot back served as the RB2 on Sunday vs. CIN and averaged over 4 ypc. in spot duty.  Maroney’s departure is as much as a stroke of confidence for Green-Ellis as it is lack of confidence in Maroney.  Green-Ellis, who is just 25, gets an immediate upgrade and would likely see a lion’s share of the RB1 carries if and when veteran Fred Taylor goes down with an injury.

Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk, RBs

As specialty backs, Morris and Faulk should continue to perform in their existing capacity.  Morris may see a slightly reduced role in some shorter yardage situations but not enough to downgrade him from his current value.

Denver Broncos

Knowshon Moreno, RB

No impact as the RB1.

Correll Buckhalter, RB

As previously mentioned, Buckhalter’s future with the Broncos is in obvious doubt, at least beyond 2010.  Buckhalter was only a handcuff stash in all league formats, and thus his value does not take a long term hit either way.  In the short term, Buckhalter should remain Moreno’s handcuff, for what it’s worth.

Lance Ball, RB

Ball has likely shown enough to stick on the roster for 2010, but may be relegated to the practice squad.  Either way, he has no 2010 value outside of VERY deep dynasty formats.

Summary

As shocking as this news isn’t, BenJarvus Green-Ellis gets the obvious upgrade and will certainly relish the increased opportunity to prove that he can be the long term answer for the Patriots.  With all current Patriot backs of the aging variety, the “next” certainly has to be a concern for New England brass.  Belichick will no doubt be pleased to be rid of the under-performing Maroney and did well to accumulate another 2011 pick.

It isn’t likely that Maroney ever develops into any level of consistent fantasy relevance but there is no doubting that, when healthy, he is a back that can be a difference maker.  Maroney should be rostered, but with very low expectations attached.

Jeff Haverlack
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