By MyFM's Jake Archer - The New England Patriots made a move yesterday that is not seen very often in the NFL. In fact, I didn’t even know this move was possible because I’d never seen it done or heard of it. The team applied this seldom-used May 9th tender on unrestricted free agent running back LeGarrette Blount in order to protect their own interests.
Although it looked like the Patriots were essentially done with the LeGarrette Blount era after they added Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkehead to James White, Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden and DJ Foster, that may not be the case. Blount and the Patriots have not come to terms on a deal because Blount feels he deserves more money than he has been making especially considering his career year in 2016.
The Patriots don’t seem to think Blount is worth that money, which I can’t argue with, and many other teams seem to agree because Blount is still unsigned. Now, it will be even harder for Blount to sign because the Pats have made a strategic move to make sure they have all of the leverage to sign him over anyone else.
With the move, if Blount remains unsigned past July 22nd, the Patriots will have exclusive negotiating rights with him and he’ll only be eligible to play for New England during the upcoming season. If he signs before then with another team, that team would have to give up a 2018 compensatory draft pick to the Patriots. This is crucial because teams that may have had interest, such as the Ravens or Giants, will now probably shy away knowing that they would have to not only pay Blount, but give up a draft pick to get him.
So essentially, the Patriots are willing to bring back Blount to a deep stable of running backs at a maximum of $2.1 million in salary and incentives. New England brought in free agent running back Christine Michael recently which signaled that they are still looking for more backfield help, but I think Blount would be the better move.
As a Patriots fan, I love this move because it allows the team to do something that really only benefits themselves. As a fan of LeGarrette Blount, I kind of feel bad. He’s been playing on a relatively low salary for the whole time he’s been in New England and he’s been productive and won two Super Bowls with us. I feel like he deserves a nice pay day, but it looks like he’ll be coming back to Foxboro and he’ll have to settle for another Super Bowl ring instead.