New Orleans Saints running back Ty Montgomery, right, is tackled by Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

It’s no secret the Patriots prize versatility.

Their latest free-agent addition might already be the most versatile player on the team.

But does that mean former Saints wide receiver/running back Ty Montgomery will make a significant impact next season? Not necessarily.

Despite his unique role, Montgomery hasn’t topped 200 scrimmage yards since 2018. And it hasn’t been for a lack of health. Montgomery played every regular-season game for the Jets in 2019 and 14 last year in New Orleans.

Last season, he rushed for 44 yards on 15 carries and caught 16 passes for 95 yards without scoring a touchdown. Montgomery couldn’t carve out a consistent role on a Saints offense starved for skill-position talent. After seven years, his days as a reliable offensive weapon are likely over.

He isn’t jumping Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor as a receiver, or Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson in the backfield. But there’s always special teams.


Montgomery played almost half New Orleans’ special teams snaps last season, and has taken 40 percent or more of those snaps for his team each of the last three years. His special teams involvement has had an inverse relationship with his offensive production, meaning teams have found a way to increasingly involve Montgomery in the kicking game while his athleticism declines.

Originally, special teams involvement for Montgomery meant returning. After the Packers drafted him in the third round of the 2015 draft, he took kickoffs back over four-plus seasons in Green Bay and averaged more than 20 yards per return, but never scored a touchdown. Then he made 18 returns for the Jets in 2019. Since then, Montgomery has fielded just four kicks, and covered dozens more.

Covering kicks and punts is his most likely role in New England, where he’s not a lock to make the Week 1 roster based on his reported contract. That makes him a sensible replacement for a player like Brandon Bolden, who just left for Las Vegas and was a core special teamer with a limited offensive role.

If Montgomery was a year or two or four younger, perhaps he could fill a role like Cordarrelle Patterson did in 2018, rushing, receiving and returning for the Patriots. But Patterson’s only season in New England was simultaneously the last time the NFL saw them as similar offensive players.

At least Bill Belichick likes him.

Speaking about the Saints last September, Belichick said: “I would say also that Sean (Payton) has a number of players on his team that do multiple things. A guy like Montgomery who has been a kick returner or a receiver or running back. He’s a good blocker. He can do a lot of different things.”

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