After a strong preseason, running back Dion Lewis emerged as a top option for the New England Patriots as they looked to fill out their backfield. Now after a few successful regular season games, it appears Lewis has cemented his place with the Pats beyond just this season.

According to ESPN's Field Yates, the Patriots rewarded Lewis' strong start to the season today, by extending his contract through the 2017 season.

After sitting out all of last year with an injury, the Patriots offered Lewis a shot to come into camp this preseason and fight for a job on the team. He took that opportunity and ran with it, showing that he was more than capable of contributing both on the ground and in the passing attack, which has led to him being the team's leader in snaps played from the running back position thus far.

Through just three games this year, Lewis has rushed 30 times for 146 yards and two scores and also caught 15 passes for another 179 yards. He did have a fumble in each of the first two games but has shown the ability to shake off the mistakes and held onto the football in the team's last game.

Creating a strong one-two punch with bigger back LaGarrette Blount the past couple of weeks, Lewis has helped to add another dimension to an already hard to defend New England Offense.