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Sunday NFL Thoughts: LeGarrette Blount’s new deal, Brandon King’s community service, Vince Wilfork’s BBQ rib dance

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Blount received a fair market contract for his performance in 2016.

1. Former New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount signed a 1-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles with $1.25 million in base salary and an additional $1.55 million available in incentives, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

The Patriots were theoretically interested in retaining Blount, by virtue of applying the 110% tender on the running back, but the Eagles offered more.

Blount would have had a $1.06 million base in New England with an additional $1.00 million in incentives. $750,000 of those incentives would be considered “likely to be earned” because they’re linked to Blount’s rushing yards and he achieved the maximum incentive of 1,100 rushing yards in 2016. The remaining $250,000 was linked to Blount making the Pro Bowl on the first ballot, which he did not.

The Patriots invested a lot of money in Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee this offseason, so Blount would be hard pressed to reach those same $750,000 in rushing yard incentives- and failing to collect on the rushing yard incentives would make the remaining $250,00 Pro Bowl incentive impossible to achieve.

Still, the Eagles offered Blount more in base money and in incentives, with a more probable spot in the line-up to reach those incentives.

2. I suggested that Blount might be able to sign a deal for $1.5 million base and an additional $2 million in incentives, for a total of $3.5 million, but I overshot Blount’s value by about 25%. I don’t think the difference in my projected base is that big of a miss, but I’m curious to see Blount’s incentive structure to see if his incentives are reasonably achievable.

Two other veterans served as my point of comparison for Blount: 30-year-old Jamaal Charles with the Broncos and 32-year-old Adrian Peterson with the Saints. Both Charles and Blount signed extremely incentive-heavy deals, with 75% of Charles’ deal and over 50% of Peterson’s deal tied up in incentives- but there’s a difference in the attainability of these incentives.

Charles’ incentives are reasonable; he will get $250,000 for making the roster and an additional $1.25 million if he is active for every game. Charles also has yardage incentives that start at 500 all purpose yards (rushing, receiving, and return yards), with a maximum of $1.25 million if Charles gains 1,000 all purpose yards and the Broncos reach the playoffs. Charles has reached 1,000 yards in his previous five seasons where he’s been healthy for most of the year.

Peterson’s incentives are crazy; he will need to gain 1,500 rushing yards, score 10 touchdowns, and lead the league in rushing touchdowns in order to reach his maximum incentives. While Peterson has scored 10 or more times in every healthy season of his career, his “10 touchdown bonus will only be paid if he also leads the league in rushing touchdowns.” Peterson has hit the 1,500 rushing yards plateau twice in his career and led the league in rushing touchdowns twice.

Charles incentives are fine. Peterson’s are dang near impossible.

I was expecting Blount to have a blend of achievable and reach goals in his incentives, similar to what the Patriots had. I was projected yardage incentives ($750,00), a touchdown incentive ($500,000), a postseason incentive ($250,000), and a Pro Bowl incentive ($250,000). We’ll see what the final incentives are for Blount and whether or not he is capable of achieving them.

3. As noted by Chris Price, the departure of Blount means that Bill Belichick will extend his streak of not having a back-to-back 1,000 yard rusher as a head coach.

Belichick did not have a 1,000 yard rusher while in Cleveland; the high was 890 yards by Leroy Hoard. No running back reached 600 yards in back-to-back seasons under Belichick in Cleveland.

In New England, just five running backs have reached the 1,000-yard mark under Belichick: Antowain Smith (1,157 in 2001), Corey Dillon (1,635 in 2004), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (1,008 in 2010), Stevan Ridley (1,263 in 2012), and LeGarrette Blount (1,161 in 2016).

Smith was the closest rusher to gain back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with 1,157 in 2001 and 982 in 2002. Dillon gained 733, Green-Ellis gained 667, Ridley gained 773, and Blount will not be back with the team.

With such a crowded backfield heading into 2017, I have a hard time predicting any one player to exceed 1,000 yards this year.

4. I wanted to give a shout out to Patriots special teams ace Brandon King, who attended an event for “Prom Angels”, an organization dedicated to organizing great activities for special needs communities in New England.

King is quietly one of the most active Patriots with regards to community service and deserves some attention for his great work.

5. Former Patriots DT Vince Wilfork is doing the media rounds and held court with The Big Lead to discuss Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and where Belichick stands in the pantheon of best coaches in NFL history.

“I think Belichick is the best coach of all time,” Wilfork said, via a NESN transcript. “I really do. And doing it at a time that he’s doing it in now with the salary cap and managing money and stuff and trying to keep a team without a lot of superstars. Oh, man. That’s special.”

When asked why Belichick was so special, Wilfork gave an in-depth analysis.

“It’s just his style,” Wilfork replied. “His culture style, his people style, how he can get people to be on (the same page). How smart he is when it comes to football. Putting people around him that are smart and understand the game. I think he is the best coach of all time, past Vince Lombardi, just because Vince Lombardi didn’t have to deal with salary cap back in those days. You could load your team up. Who knows if there was salary cap back then what would have happened with Vince Lombardi then.”

Belichick has shown a mastery of the modern NFL that forces a constant churn on the roster, where previous dynasties benefit from retaining whatever stars they managed to develop or acquire. There hasn’t been a coach like Belichick before and it might be a while until we see one again.

6. Wilfork has to be one of my all time favorite Patriots, so I will share anything that he does in his post-NFL career, particularly if it involves dancing while eating ribs.

Keep on dancing, Vince. Keep on dancing all the way to the Hall of Fame.