New England Patriots

Sep 27, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (26) runs with the ball against Las Vegas Raiders strong safety Jeff Heath (38) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday morning – less than a week before the Patriots’ need to trim their roster down to 53 players – the team opened up a roster spot in a big way, trading running back Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams.

Given the way the Patriots’ overall roster is structured, carrying six running backs to start the season never felt like a realistic option. Somebody was going to be the odd man out. Michel always seemed like a candidate, but not more than that, especially with his performance in recent weeks, both in training camp practices and preseason games.

So what led to Michel being that odd man out? There’s a number of factors, but the main one is the other players in the running back room – specifically J.J. Taylor and Rhamondre Stevenson.

Early on in camp, both Taylor and Stevenson were viewed as ‘odd man out’ candidates as well as Michel. Taylor had a slow start and entered ‘surprise cut’ territory. Meanwhile, Stevenson opened camp on the NFI list, leading some to believe he could end up on IR for the ‘red shirt season‘ the Patriots typically give rookie running backs.

MORE: Patriots Day 17 training camp notebook

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at