The New England Patriots discussed trading Jeff Demps, who has seemingly been replaced by free agent signing Leon Washington, as Demps has stated his desire to play football and run track. That never appeared to sit too well with Bill Belichick, and the chances of Demps sticking around in New England are slim. Before signing Washington, the Pats showed interest in another top returner in Josh Cribbs. Both Washington and Demps play at the running back position, and the current depth at running back likely means that Demps is on his way out. It doesn’t sound like the Pats will be able to trade Demps, but there is still hope that another team is at least interested in dealing a seventh-round pick. Although the Olympic track star went undrafted, that was largely due to him being at the Olympics. Demps will still play football, but there are rumblings that he is slightly prioritizing track.
The speedster and possible impact returner might not have a place on an NFL offense, because it has yet to be seen if he can effectively play on offense. His speed should be able to translate decently well, but you never know. The Patriots might also be worried that Demps will not be able to spend enough time to learn the playbook, and his goal of running in the Olympics again is at-odds with his statement that he wants to do track and football evenly. I’m all for a guy trying to achieve his dream, but teams- especially cutthroat teams like the Patriots- look at the bottom line.
According to Demps’s agent Daniel Rose via the Boston Herald there are teams out there who won’t be as cutthroat with Demps and will be willing to take on the project RB despite his desire to also run track. Rose said, “Jeff loves New England, and he wants to run track and play football. It’s not a decision based on money. It’s a decision based on his passion for both sports. He’s 23 years old, and he has an opportunity to do what he loves and has our blessing. I would think with the (Patriots’) lack of picks, a deal would be done over the draft, as I am certain if the Patriots aren’t willing to let him do both, there are other teams who will. He played football and ran track in college. He’s always been honest with the teams about everything. That’s why he didn’t go to the combine or participate in the Senior Bowl, as he was focusing on the Olympics. How can you tell a 23-year-old not to follow his dreams and do what he loves, which is run track and play football.”
Man, it is so hard not to root for this guy. Demps should be able to find a gig with another NFL team, because there is bound to be one team out there willing to take him on and give Demps a chance at doing both. But this clearly isn’t an ideal situation for any team, and I highly doubt the Patriots are able to deal him. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are team to watch if the Patriots do indeed decide to part ways with Demps (which is the most likely action at this juncture), because the Bucs were also heavily involved in the Demps sweepstakes in August and nearly kept the former Florida Gators prospect out of the Patriots-Gators pipeline and in the state of Florida.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Jeff Demps, but my guess is that he is going to be suiting up for another team next season. He should be able to find work, but there are far too many variables to keep track of. For Demps’s sake (he seems like a good guy), let’s hope his agent’s optimism is vindicated.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.