The Miami Dolphins have finally signed a GM and their offseason activities can begin. The Dolphins’ front office has an entire roster — including 18 free agents — to evaluate to decide who stays, who goes and what positions need upgrading. The Dolphins have a plethora of needs with the most prevalent being the entire the offensive line aside from center. New Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey will have his hands full with this rebuilding project.
One area of the team Hickey may find lacking after his evaluation is running back. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas both have shown flashes but might both be more “change-of-pace” guys than featured backs.
With a rich free agent running back market with talents such as like Ben Tate, Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden, Hickey shouldn’t have a problem finding a suitable No. 1 option in the backfield. Hickey might lean towards New England Patriots free agent running back LeGarrette Blount. Signing Blount would weaken the Patriots some, but everyone knows how great Bill Belichick is at plugging in replacements and making it work.
More importantly, Blount fits the profile of what the Dolphins lacked last season — a big, physical running back who falls forward for the extra yard. Blount is a man who can run for a first down on third or fourth and short which is something Miller and Thomas found themselves unable to do in 2013. Blount broke the Patriots’ playoff record for most touchdowns in a game in his four-touchdown, 166-yard performance. That display surely drove up his price tag.
Hickey also jump-started Blount’s NFL career. Blount had gone undrafted out of the University of Oregon and was then cut by the Tennessee Titans early in his rookie campaign. Hickey (then with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) convinced his cohorts to take a chance on Blount. He rushed for 1,007 yards and gained five yards per rush attempt the following season before he was eventually traded to the Patriots three seasons later. Another Dolphins connection is Blount was coached by Chip Kelly at Oregon in 2009. New Dolphins OC Bill Lazor worked under Kelly in Philadelphia last season.
Blount went undrafted out of Oregon because of character concerns and a suspension which cost him nearly his entire senior season. Following the first game (and loss) of his senior season, Blount punched a Boise State University player in the face after the player was taunting Blount. A full-season suspension ensued which was eventually repealed, and the talented Blount went undrafted in the following April’s NFL Draft.
That was five years ago and Blount had undoubtedly matured since the incident, especially working under Belichick and the “Patriot way.”
The question must still be asked, though: Is Blount a Joe Philbin type guy?
Dolphins head coach Philbin has made it clear he wants high character guys and has even gone as far as to get rid of talented players who he didn’t think highly of (Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson, Vontae Davis). Will he take a chance with Blount and show Hickey that he can be flexible and compromise — something he didn’t do with former Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland?
After last season’s “Bullygate” scandal, the Dolphins won’t want any national spotlight next season unless it’s Super Bowl media coverage. Miami will only acquire Blount if they know he is stable and with the team. However, the team botched the character judgement of both Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. New management is in town now, but you still have to wonder.
Once Blount is in the tempting town of South Beach will he be able to contain himself?
Is Blount the perfect fit or the perfect storm?