Just over a week ago, the New England Patriots used a seldom utilized tender on RB LeGarrette Blount. The tender, known as the “May 9” tender, allowed for Blount to still negotiate with other teams while giving the Patriots the opportunity to earn pick compensation for the loss of the free agent. Typically, any free agents left after the date would not result in compensation for the former team. If Blount could not sign with another franchise before July 22, he would only be allowed to play for New England in 2017-18.
It was a question of whether or not another team would be willing to have this count against their pick compensation. Overall, it seemed like a pretty ruthless business move by New England, but one that made sense, and as it usually does, it all worked out in the end as Blount signed today with the Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year deal worth a maximum of $2.8 million.
The 30-year old RB had by far the best season of his career in 2016-17, totaling over 1,100 yards and league-leading 18 touchdowns (also a Patriots franchise record). If he were to have those exact numbers in Philadelphia, fans would be ecstatic. The Eagles have struggled to find a lead running back since LeSean McCoy was traded after the 2014-15 season. Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, and DeMarco Murray had minimal success in the offense, and I’m wondering if this will be the same for LeGarrette Blount.
Outside of New England, Blount hasn’t had much success either. When he came into the NFL, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after spending the pre-season with the Titans. He spent three years in Tampa, where he totaled just under 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns in those seasons. Due to the emergence of RB Doug Martin, the Bucs decided to send Blount packing to New England in exchange for a seventh round pick (used on DT Everett Dawkins) and RB Jeff Demps (who got the ball four times in the NFL).
After the season he would sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers on a two-year deal worth $3.85 million. Blount was expected to be the backup to LeVeon Bell, but his term didn’t last long. Bell and Blount were arrested for possession of marijuana, and Blount also received a DUI before the season started. The last straw was during a game against the Titans where he left the game early after not touching the ball the entire game.
Blount has the ability to be a starting-level running back in the NFL, but for some reason, he hasn’t been able to show it outside of New England. Add another year of wear and tear on that body (299 carries, most since 200 his rookie year), coupled with an offensive scheme that hasn’t fit a lot of running backs very well, will make for an interesting year. Hopefully the team continues to move towards a traditional offense, with a year under the belt for Carson Wentz and with the acquisition of Alshon Jeffery, a legit number one receiver. That would significantly help the transition from New England to Philadelphia.
I’m hoping for all the best for LeGarrette Blount. He was a pivotal piece to the Patriots offense last year on their way to another Super Bowl, and he’s become ingrained in the culture of Boston. I wish him success, but I’m not sure if he’ll live up to the expectations that some may have.