Patriots retain core special teamer Brandon Bolden on one-year deal

Brandon Bolden was tied for second on the team with eight special teams tackles. David Butler II/USA Today Sports

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots began the process of building depth to their 90-man roster for the 2018 offseason by signing veteran running back/core special teamer Brandon Bolden to a one-year extension.

The deal qualifies for the minimum salary benefit, which means Bolden's salary cap charge is less than his salary. The minimum salary benefit is a concept meant to help mid-career veterans like Bolden who teams might be less inclined to keep compared to a cheaper, younger player on the salary cap.

Bolden enters his seventh season with the Patriots and his primary value comes on special teams. He played just 42 offensive snaps in the 2017 regular season, with 34 of them coming in the finale when limiting the workload of top players was part of the consideration for the coaching staff, and the team was also managing multiple injuries at running back.

On special teams, Bolden is on the kickoff coverage, kickoff return, punt coverage and punt return units, which reflects how he is a key piece for special teams coach Joe Judge, providing a level of experience and consistency that is valued. Bolden was credited with eight special-teams tackles in the 2017 regular season, which tied for second-most on the club.

In addition, he adds depth at running back, where the Patriots have two of their top three players -- Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead -- set to become unrestricted free agents.