This adds a layer of competition and depth at both running back and on special teams, the latter of which Bolden has particularly excelled in his first five years with the club.
When the Patriots reached agreement with Rex Burkhead, the former Cincinnati Bengals running back, on a one-year contract with a maximum value of $3.15 million, it would have been easy to assume that Bolden wouldn't be back. Burkhead, like Bolden, is a solid special-teamer.
But it appears there wasn't overwhelming interest from other teams, and with the Patriots and Bolden having maintained an open dialogue, the door was never closed on Bolden's return.
While Bolden has carved out a spot on the 53-man roster from 2012-16, he could face longer odds this year with running backs James White, Dion Lewis and Burkhead falling into the "roster lock" category. There is also the possibility that LeGarrette Blount returns as a power option, and this is also considered a strong draft class at the position, with the club possibly adding a rookie or two from that crop.