The New England Patriots have a few key impending free agents this offseason, and the top two priorities are No. 1 cornerback Aqib Talib and 100-catch wide receiver Julian Edelman. Running back LeGarrette Blount is also set to hit the open market in 2014, and you’d have to think that the Patriots would like to keep the hard-nosed rusher around. Stevan Ridley is a talented feature back when he isn’t putting the ball on the ground, Shane Vereen can make a solid impact as a rotational rusher, and Brandon Bolden is a solid back at the end of the depth chart. However, Blount averaged five yards per carry; improved his technique, consistency, and power as the season wore on; and he has the ability to spring big runs. This is a guy who played a key role for the Patriots in the postseason and down the stretch of the regular season, so he sounds like a Priority C for the Pats among their own free agents.
But according to a source close to MassLive.com’s Nick Underhill, the Patriots haven’t approached LeGarrette Blount regarding a long-term deal ever since their season ended. Another source told Underhill that Blount will likely receive “some interest” if he hits the open market, so it’s a bit surprising to hear that the Patriots haven’t spoken with him yet.
That said, it definitely wouldn’t be surprising to see Blount hit the open market, and I have a feeling he’ll suit up for a different team next year. The Patriots don’t have much cap space and have Talib and Edelman to worry about, and they also have plenty of depth at RB. Blount is talented, but the Patriots might not have the ability to keep him around. Restructuring Vince Wilfork’s deal would significantly help them, but the wait-and-see approach with Blount makes some sense given their cap situation.