When the Tennessee Titans agreed to sign former New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis, I was a bit skeptical.

I was skeptical because of the amount of money the Titans were committing ($20 million over four years) to a player that appeared in only 14 games from the end of the 2012 season to the start of the 2017 season.

But the more I’ve thought about the signing and looked into Lewis, the more I think this is a fantastic addition for the Titans.

Here’s why.

So I mentioned the injury concern with Lewis. On first glance, the injuries are what everyone notices. But it’s not like Lewis is a player that is habitually injured with lingering, or random, injuries. He’s had two major injuries in his career that have cost him nearly three years worth of playing time.

In a 2013 pre-season game, Lewis fractured his fibula and it required surgery. He missed all of the 2013 and 2014 seasons due to the injury.

Lewis then tore his ACL midway through the 2015 season. He had surgery to repair his torn ACL, followed by a procedure to clean out his knee. Lewis returned to action in week 11 of the NFL season. He essentially missed one entire season because of his ACL injury, which is not uncommon.

That’s it. Those are the two major, unrelated injuries in Lewis’ career. Outside of those two injuries, he’s missed one game due to a pulled muscle. ACL injuries and broken bones aren’t something you can prevent. They can happen to ANY athlete at ANY time.

Because of Lewis’ injuries, he’s a relatively low mileage running back. Sure, he’ll turn 28 just after the start of the 2018 season, but he has only 417 career touches in the NFL. By comparison, Le’Veon Bell, who is 26, has 1,541 career touches. 23 year old Todd Gurley has 914 career touches.

Running backs have short careers in the NFL because of the beatings they take on a weekly basis. All of those hits add up.

Lewis, however, doesn’t have all of that wear and tear. That’s huge for the Titans, considering they will have Lewis under contract until he’s 31.

In recent years, we’ve seen that running backs who excel in the passing game can extend their careers longer than the ground-n-pound type running backs (Darren Sproles is living proof).

So how about Lewis’ fit in the Titans’ new offense under Matt LaFleur?

I think he’s exactly what Tennessee needs and I think he’ll really open up the playbook for LaFleur.

Last season, Todd Gurley caught 64 passes for 788 yards. In 2016, in Atlanta, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 85 receptions for 883 yards.

LaFleur wasn’t the play caller in either of those situations (he was the Rams’ offensive coordinator but Sean McVay called plays, and he was the quarterbacks coach with the Falcons), but I think it’s safe to assume that he’ll model his offense on the 2016 Falcons and the 2017 Rams — two extremely successful teams.

Lewis has never caught more than 36 passes in a season, but that’s due in large part to the sometimes large rotation of running backs the New England Patriots used during his time in Foxborough.

It’s worth noting, however, that Lewis’ career high of 36 passes came in only seven games in 2015. Over a full season, that would extrapolate to 82 receptions.

It’s very apparent he’s capable of having a Todd Gurley like impact in the passing game for the Titans.

Tennessee could have something in special in Derrick Henry and Lewis. Together, they can have a Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara-like impact. I don’t think Lewis is quite as dynamic as Kamara (few players are), but he’s going to be a nearly impossible matchup in coverage.

Plus, Lewis can run the ball too. He rushed for 896 yards last season (5.0 yards per carry), so it’s not like teams can assume the Titans are in a passing situation when he’s on the field.

Lewis, by the way, is also great in pass coverage, despite his small-ish frame.

In 2017, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters “Dion is a tough kid, he’s certainly willing to step up in there and take them. The size, it is what it is.”

It’s hard to not be excited at the thought of an offensive group that includes Lewis, Henry, Corey Davis, Delanie Walker and Marcus Mariota.

The future is looking extremely bright for the Tennessee Titans.

Featured image via Sporting News