Back on May 9th, the New England Patriots applied a seldom-used tender on RB LeGarrette Blount that shocked pretty much everyone paying attention to the projected second wave of free agency.
The tender makes sense for the Patriots because it keeps Blount as a part of the compensatory draft pick calculation; New England is scheduled to gain a fourth and fifth round compensatory pick, but could lose one or both if Chris Long and Barkevious Mingo fail to make their new teams. Keeping Blount a part of the calculations serves to protect one of the picks.
And while not everyone agrees with my assessment, I believe that keeping Blount within the compensatory pick calculation could deter a compensatory-conscious team like the Ravens or Giants from pursuing Blount with the same gusto as if he came with no strings attached.
Free agents typically only count in the compensatory calculus until the second Tuesday after the NFL draft, so many teams wait until after that date to sign low-priority veterans like Blount. No one was expecting the Patriots to apply this “June 1st tender” on Blount because it’s a tender that never happens.
According to Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager, no team has used this tender since the year 2000, a ridiculously long time ago- so you can forgive some teams for not factoring it into their offseason plans.
But I guess in a year where James White used the Kevin-Faulk-direct-snap play in the Super Bowl, watching Bill Belichick dust off his history books should become a standard part of the Patriots process.