RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots close to extension

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson is nearing an agreement on a contract extension with the Patriots, he told reporters at the first day of New England’s mandatory minicamp Monday.

Stevenson, 26, is slated to earn a base salary of $3.116 million in the final year on his rookie contract, which he signed after the Patriots selected him in the fourth round of the 2021 draft.

“Right now, I’m trying to get the deal done and get it locked in. We’ll see where that goes. It’s pretty close,” Stevenson told reporters.

Last season, Stevenson suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 13 and sat out the rest of a 4-13 campaign. In 12 games, he rushed for 619 yards and four touchdowns and caught 38 passes for 238 yards.

In 41 games (21 starts) over three seasons, the 6-foot, 227-pound Oklahoma product has 2,265 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns along with 121 catches for 782 yards and one receiving score.

Stevenson said that contract talks have been ongoing but realizes that deals take time to be finalized.

“It’s not frustrating, but it’s just a long process,” he said. “This is my first time going through it, but just hearing from all the other guys, this is how it goes. It’s a negotiation process, and I’m respecting the process.”

Stevenson shared the backfield with veteran Ezekiel Elliott last season, but Elliot rejoined the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. This spring, former Washington Commanders running back Antonio Gibson is in the fold after signing a three-year, $11.25 million deal, but Stevenson remains the starter.

“I think he’s one of the better backs in the league, no doubt about it,” first-year Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo said of Stevenson on Monday. “I’m excited to see what he does this season, and look, he’s earned everything that he gets. He is our starting running back and hopefully we do get something done.”