This past Wednesday, the Philadelphia Eagles made the sudden move of signing two-time Super Bowl Champion running back LeGarrette Blount to a one-year, $2.8 million contract, and it couldn’t be any more perfect.
For too long, the Eagles have always chosen agility and elusiveness or size and power in their running backs. This goes back to when LeSean McCoy was one of the most feared runners in the league, and the Birds had a line and offensive system built around that style of running. However, through some coaching and personnel changes, the Eagles have found themselves trying to make running backs something they’re not. The majority of running backs the Eagles have had over the last handful of years haven’t been north/south runners, except DeMarco Murray (2015). The only problem is, when you have east/west runners that are not as elite (and probably never will be as elite) as Shady McCoy once was years ago, issues will arise. And boy, did they.
Enter LeGarrette Blount, a 6’, 250lb force that is a bonafide north/south runner. His effectiveness and presence, even at 31 years old, will be immediate and obvious. Last season, Blount ended with a stat line of: 1,161 YDS/299 ATT/44 LNG/ 18 TD. Behind the Eagles’ offensive line, which is a higher ranked line than the New England Patriots’, Blount will do damage. With that being said, he doesn’t really have to be the monster he was for New England in order for him to bring the Eagles success.
Blount and Darren Sproles are likely to be the two starters that switch from time to time, depending on matchups, field positioning, etc., with Donnel Pumphrey likely to be heavily featured. All Blount has to do is make the best out of his snaps. He has big play potential on top of being able to break through defensive lines with his power. If he can prevent negative yardage, give quarterback Carson Wentz a go-to guy to hand the ball of to, and become a reliable option to take pressure off the Eagles’ passing game (which is still their offensive focal point), he’ll be doing more than enough.
The length of his contract is fascinating as well, with it being only a one-year deal. One can only imagine it’s a similar kind of deal to newly acquired wide receiver Alshon Jeffery’s contract. It’s a one-year “show us what you can do” or “prove you’re worth a bigger investment” type deal. Incentive is one of the most important things in the NFL in terms of contracts. A trend that is far too common is players slacking off and producing far less simply because they landed a long and lucrative contract. The type of deal that Jeffery and Blount have is the perfect way to optimize their obvious ability.
LeGarrette Blount will make a splash in Philadelphia, and it is nice to see the Eagles’ front office making such bold moves for the sake of making the team better now, rather than later.