I feel bad for LeGarrette Blount at this stage of free agency. One year after leading the league in rushing touchdowns and setting a career high in rushing yards, Blount can’t find any team to give him an offer to use as leverage against the New England Patriots.
That’s harsh, right?
“The Patriots really have not upped their offer because at this point LeGarrette Blount does not have a competing offer, has not yet been able to take a visit with another team, which might spur the Patriots to increase the amount of money they're willing to give him," NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said, via NFL.com. "What LeGarrette Blount needs now is a little bit of leverage to get the Patriots to pay a little bit more than they originally offered. Because otherwise it just doesn't seem like he's thrilled to come back and make less than, say, Rex Burkhead is making for the Patriots.”
That’s harsh, right?
Burkhead is more versatile than Blount, sure, but Blount is a solid running back that can pick up yards and wear down defenses late in games, and he’s consistent at the goal line. Maybe he doesn’t add much as a receiver, but there has to be at least one team that could use him in their offense.
Blount has also surpassed Burkhead’s career yards from scrimmage (663) in five of his seven NFL seasons. That sort of production counts for something, right?
Patriots gave Rex Burkhead 1-year, $3.15 million.— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) April 4, 2017
For comparison, Patriots have paid LeGarrette Blount ~$3.64 million for his 3.5 seasons.
I’m not trying to say that the Patriots should negotiate against themselves and boost up their offer, because that’s just not how smart business works. But the fact that he doesn’t have more interest on the open market makes me disappointed for Blount.
Blount’s a fun player to watch when the weather is sloppy and when he parties with the minutemen after a score and when games are late. Blount’s a trustworthy player when you need to run a 4-minute drill to hold on to a lead. I don’t buy that he can only succeed in New England, even if I get why some teams have concerns after his episode in Pittsburgh.
I just hope that Blount can find a contract that matches his contributions.
“It doesn't sound like the Patriots have moved at all from their original offer, given a little less than a month ago when free agency started," Rapoport said. "They like LeGarrette Blount. They have strong feelings for him. He actually wants to return as well.”
It’s hard to say that Blount should get a pay raise over his 2016 contract when no team is stepping up to the plate. Last season Blount signed a $1 million contract with $1 million in incentives. If just one other team was in the Blount market, I could see a $2 million contract with the same $1 million in incentives to push him towards Burkhead’s contract.
But without that second team, there’s no reason for the Patriots to bump up their offer- and with a strong running back draft fast approaching, Blount has a potential deadline to make a decision.