The New England Patriots were able to find a trade partner for Jeff Demps, and they sent a seventh-rounder with Demps in order to nab Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup running back LeGarrette Blount. The Bucs were also actively shopping Blount, who did not have a place on the Bucs and fell out of favor with the team largely due to the emergence of star RB Doug Martin as a rookie. I am a fan of this deal, and Bill Belichick weighed in on the deal with his thoughts and some brief insight on Blount and Demps.
He said via ESPN Boston, ”We felt like we got good value for Blount. He’s a guy that we basically gave up [Jeff] Demps for, and Demps, I’d say, is less of a proven player and there were some other issues with Jeff. With LeGarrette, he’s been a productive player. He didn’t play as much last year with the emergence of [Doug] Martin down there, so I can certainly understand that Tampa was in. We felt like he was a talented guy that we wanted to have on our team.”
It sounds like Belichick was indeed not a fan of Demps’s decision to continue with both track and football, and some of the quotes Demps delivered over the past month or two have seemed to indicate that track is his true passion. The Bucs showed a significant amount of interest back in August when Demps hit the free agent waters following the London Olympics, but it was the Patriots who signed him and gave him a year off to start with on the injured reserve. All the guaranteed money in Demps’s contract, by the way, has been paid out.
Neither team wanted the running back they had, and I think the change of scenery should serve Blount well. He will have to be inspired and disciplined in order to make the most of this chance, because a roster spot in the Patriots crowded backfield is far from guaranteed. But it’s easy to forget that Blount was once a 1,000-yard rusher as a rookie in Tampa, and he is a great pure rusher with plenty of power and explosiveness. Blount could be a factor and get the second-most carries on the Patriots if all goes well, and he is certainly a much more proven player than Demps. I am a fan of this deal from the Patriots perspective, because Demps and Blount are both risky players for different reasons. However, Blount has actually had success at the NFL level and is thus less risky. The thoughts from Bill Belichick have basically sealed the fact that this was a solid deal for the Pats, in my eyes.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.