A new era has officially dawned in the Patriots backfield as LeGarrette Blount signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year $2.8 million contract with the ability to climb to $3 million.
But was it the right call? Blount was by far the best goal line back leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns. Blount also had a career high in rushing yards with 1,161 which was a career high for him and the highest rushing total by a Patriots running back since Corey Dillion in 2004.
Some fans are scratching their heads asking themselves why the Patriots would let Blount walk after placing a tender on him? Well the rule of the tender states that if Blount were to sign with another team before July 22nd of this year, then the Patriots would receive compensatory draft picks in return. However, if Blount was not able to find a team by that time, the Patriots would be the only team he would be able to play for in the 2017 season.
It was also pretty clear that the Patriots were going younger and changing the makeup of the position signing Rex Burkhead as well as Mike Gillislee to go along with Super Bowl hero James White and Dion Lewis.
But should the Patriots be concerned after letting their leading rusher and most trusted goal line asset walk?
Burkhead is an unproven back who has not rushed for more than 400 yards in his career while Gillislee has worked as primarily a backup for all-pro running back LeSean McCoy.
Which leaves the 1st down running back role to two backups who don’t have the starting experience that Blount gave the Patriots.
Yes Gillislee gives the Patriots speed and he does have a little experience in the starting role at running back, especially at the goal line. But the bottom line is this, these two running backs are complete strangers in this Patriots offense and plugging one of the backs into the 1st down role is risky for the team.
However, it is definitely going to be interesting to see how it pans out during training camp leading into the regular season.