The New England Patriots don”t have a running back capable of churning out 200 carries in the upcoming season, so they might as well re-sign LeGarrette Blount.
Before free agency opened up, the smart money was on the New England Patriots re-signing LeGarrette Blount, whose value is at its highest in Foxboro. Almost a month later, Blount is still sitting in free agency, and the interest in signing him has been almost nonexistent.
That isn’t surprising, because Blount is a 30-year-old power back who offers very little in the passing game, and it’s hard to envision him having a great deal of success outside of the Patriots offense. Blount is too good to remain unemployed, but he’s hardly prime real estate.
That said, it is surprising that the Patriots have shown so little interest in reuniting with a man who played a key role in two Super Bowls. Blount is coming off of arguably the best season of his career, running for 1,161 yards and a monstrous 18 touchdowns on 299 carries. The Patriots fed him the rock consistently, likely running him into the ground for a swan song.
New England is notorious for moving on from players, such as Wes Welker, just before their precipitous decline. Perhaps they sense a dreadful 2017 on the horizon for Blount, who found no success in his last stint away from the Pats (Pittsburgh Steelers, 2014).
Thankfully, although Blount remains unsigned, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that there is mutual interest between both parties. Based on this, it seems like a deal would be made quickly if the Patriots decided to head to the bargaining table with Blount’s agent.
“I know LeGarrette Blount would like to return to the Patriots, I know the Patriots would like him back.” https://t.co/gmtUNR4NZN
The Patriots have a quality crop of running backs on the depth chart in free-agent signing Rex Burkhead, the electrifying Dion Lewis, and the steady James White. None of them, however, are established two-down backs who can move the pile or hold up under a heavy workload.
Although the end could be near for Blount, he is a legitimate feature back. He may be 30, but he’ll tell you that he hasn’t taken much punishment to this point in his career. He’s been the picture of durability throughout his time with the Patriots.
New England could wait until after the draft to make a decision on Blount, because they are fully expected to draft a running back relatively high in this year’s class. The thing is, Blount is such a cheap, low-risk re-signing on a one-year deal that it would be worth it for them to hedge their bets by re-signing him. The downside to that lies in their depth at running back, because they aren’t short on capable bodies at the position. The question is, do the have faith in a rookie’s ability to be a true No. 1 back in this offense?
Recently, the Patriots worked out Adrian Peterson, who is an even less attractive purchase in free agency around the league than Blount is. Thankfully, the Patriots did not sign him, and CSN New England’s Tom E. Curran even speculated that the workout could have been a favor for Peterson’s agent Ben Dogra. Nobody around the Patriots expects Peterson to sign with the team, and, well, that’s all for the better.
Blount is a similar player to Peterson, and he’s coming off of a much better 2016. He’s also been more durable and knows the Patriots system inside-out. If the Pats want a safe veteran option who can score touchdowns and chew up productive carries, then Blount isn’t just the right choice; he’s the only choice.
I’m guessing the financial details aren’t what’s holding back a deal between Blount and the Patriots. He knows why he’s unsigned, he knows that the Patriots can provide him with a championship opportunity. And he’s already taken cheap deals to be in New England in the past. If anything, the hitch here may be the fact that the Patriots want to weigh their draft options at the position. We’ll know what’s actually the case soon, because I still believe that it’s a matter of when, not if, Blount re-signs with the Pats.