Rapid reaction: Kevin Faulk re-signing

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The re-signing of veteran running back Kevin Faulk is a no-brainer. The Patriots are a better team with him on the roster, both for what he contributes on the field and in the locker room as a mentor to younger players.

Add in the fact that Faulk qualifies for a salary cap credit as part of the new labor agreement, and the move was a given if Faulk was recovered from his torn ACL.

This situation reminds me a bit of linebacker Tedy Bruschi in 2009.

Entering that year, the feeling here was that Bruschi would compete for a spot in camp and if it didn't work out, he'd retire. That's what happened. Bruschi was only going to play for one team, and Faulk feels the same way.

I still think Faulk can contribute to a team, but the running back spot is crowded, so I could see this one going either way.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (assuming he signs as a restricted free agent), Danny Woodhead, second-round draft choice Shane Vereen and third-round draft choice Stevan Ridley are locks on the running back depth chart. Woodhead, who emerged in 2010, plays a similar role to Faulk as the team's "passing" back. The Patriots would likely keep either four or five backs on the final 53-man roster.

Faulk figures to take a short-term focus, testing his knee, and seeing where the chips fall.

Regardless of what happens, the Patriots are better for having him around.