New England Patriots

We’re about to find out just how much the Patriots value Dion Lewis.

The Patriots running back spoke candidly about his impending free agency in an interview on Adam Schefter’s ESPN podcast. Asked about his chances of re-signing with the Patriots, he gave a pretty telling response.

“We’ll see. It’s a business,” said Lewis. “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. Hopefully it’ll work out, but at the same time, you can’t always think that way. You’ve got to take care of yourself and your family at the same time, so it’d definitely be tough.

“I think it can work out, I hope it’ll work out. But at the same time I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket. I know how the team likes to handle their business. And as a running back, you’ve got to make the most of your opportunity. … My main thing is just making sure that I’m valued. That’s my biggest thing: make sure I’m valued the way I value myself. That’ll be the biggest thing for me.”

What’s he syaing?

Dion Lewis celebrates with Tom Brady after scoring a 5-yard receiving touchdown against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 31, 2017. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Dion Lewis celebrates with Tom Brady after scoring a 5-yard receiving touchdown against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 31, 2017. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Translation: Lewis will go to the highest bidder. And it’s unlikely that will be the Patriots.

Can’t blame Lewis for maximizing his value on the open market after three seasons of proving himself to be a dynamic weapon for Tom Brady and the Patriots. The shelf life for NFL running backs is particularly finite, and this is likely Lewis’ last chance to cash in. Maybe there’s a small chance that Bill Belichick values Lewis as highly as the running back values himself – or that Brady would lobby for Lewis to be back in 2018.

But ultimately, it’s unlikely that Belichick spends top-dollar on a running back this offseason when there are many more pressing needs – even on offense. Lewis has been electric when he’s on the field, but Belichick has almost never extended himself for any running back. Especially one with Lewis’ injury history.

It sounds like Lewis wants to stay in the northeast, even if it’s not with the Patriots. The Giants, Jets, Bills, or Ravens could come calling. But in any event, Lewis will explore the free-agent market to find the best possible value. And it’s not likely that he finds that in Foxboro.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.