Jamaal Charles plunges into the end zone against the Patriots in 2014.

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Adrian Peterson will no doubt command a larger contract than Jamaal Charles on the open market, and that’s the top reason why the Patriots will surely eye the latter big name back instead of the former Vikings star in free agency.

Expect the Patriots to at least kick the tires on Charles, who turned 30-years-old in December (and is younger than Peterson) but hasn’t played in more than five games in a season since 2014. In fact, Charles has played in just eight games the past two seasons and has rushed for just 404 yards on 83 carries.

Running back is typically the last position the Patriots address, but with LeGarrette Blount having struggled in the postseason (total: 35 carries, 109 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble in three 2016 playoff games) the Patriots may be looking for a different veteran to team with Dion Lewis in the backfield.

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The Pats famously resurrected the career of Corey Dillon once upon a time (Dillon was 29 when the Pats traded for him), so it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the Pats would be interested in Charles’ services.

Charles is an excellent pass-catching back (285 career catches, 20 receiving touchdowns) too, something the Patriots have always liked.

In addition, Charles is looking to sign with a legit Super Bowl contender, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

“This is a guy right now who I am told – No. 1 on his list is going to be playing for a contender,” Garofolo said Tuesday afternoon. “I know some people have made the connection to the Eagles and Doug Pederson, and also Chris Ballard the general manager who is now with the Colts. I get all that. But my impression from the people that I’ve talked to earlier is that he’s aiming a little higher. He’s aiming for teams that were in the postseason last year that he thinks have a legitimate Super Bowl chance this upcoming season. So he’s gonna start there and if the money matches up with some of these teams looking for running backs … you could throw the Dallas Cowboys in there. They would be high on Jamaal Charles’ list for sure.”

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