The New England Patriots traded former Olympic Medalist Jeff Demps and a seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for hard-nosed running LeGarrette Blount in a move that both sides agreed were tied to their former player needing a change of scenery. The Patriots had little interest in keeping Demps after he announced his primary focus was on track, not football. The emergence of elusive rookie running back Doug Martin made Blount expendable for the Buccaneers. The Patriots and Buccaneers agreed to swap players a week ago, the final day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Blount agreed to a pay cut on Saturday as he reduced his contract from $1.2 million to $630,000, proving this trade is a low risk-high reward transaction for the Patriots. Blount’s physical style of play could bolster a loaded Patriots’ backfield that includes Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden. Heck, even return specialist Leon Washington could receive some carries as he has posted 16 rushing touchdowns in his seven seasons in the league.
The 26-year-old Blount could prove to be valuable in short-yardage and goal-line situations as he is currently the heaviest running back on the Patriots’ roster at 247 pounds. Blount’s disappointing numbers last season (151 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns) can be attributed to how he fell out of favor with the Buccaneers coaching staff last season and was subsequently replaced by Martin. Blount, a member of the 2010 draft class, has had success in the NFL, rushing for 1,781 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first two seasons in the league.
Head coach Bill Belichick is thrilled about adding Blount to the roster.
“Excited to have him here, think he’s a good football player,” Belichick said following the conclusion of the draft. “He’s had a lot of production and I think he got in a situation last year where they obviously went with [Doug] Martin, but I think he’s a good football player and happy to add him to our team.
If Blount is able to produce in the backfield for the Patriots, then Belichick will look like a wise man once again. If he unable to provide assurance in short-yard situations and ineffective, then the Patriots can just cut him because of his new low-price tag, making the trade all the more attractive to Patriots fans.