The Bucs re-signed backup running back LeGarrette Blount to a one-year deal worth $1.25 million. Despite Blount's lack of production in 2012, the move provides the Bucs with depth at the running back position behind Doug Martin.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have re-signed running back LeGarrette Blount with a one-year deal worth $1.25 million. Per a post on Twitter from Blount's former agent Joel Curry, the fourth-year running back also has a $350,000 reporting bonus and a $150,000 workout bonus included in his contract.
The Bucs did not tender Blount a restricted free agent contract offer. Instead, the team decided to just sign him to a one-year deal without a tender offer.
Bringing Blount back was a curious move considering how little he was used in 2012, which was his worst year production-wise in the NFL. Still, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik, who shrewdly signed Blount off the waiver wire prior to the start of the 2010 NFL regular season, sees value in the bruising runner and doesn't want him to simply walk away.
That's why Blount was not tendered with an original round restricted free agent offer. His $1.25 million contract also saves the team money from a restricted free agent first- or second-round tender offer.
After rushing for a team-high 1,007 yards and six touchdowns on 201 carries (5.0 avg.) as a rookie, the 6-foot, 247-pound running back's output slipped in 2011 where he rushed for 781 yards and five TDs on 184 carries (4.2 avg.). Blount fumbled the ball seven times in his first two years with the Bucs, and that prompted the team to draft Doug Martin in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
While Martin made an instant impact as a rookie, rushing for a rookie record 1,454 yards and a franchise-record 11 touchdowns on 319 carries en route to making the Pro Bowl, Blount was seldom used in 2012, especially down the stretch. Blount finished his third NFL season with only 41 carries for 151 yards (3.7 avg.) and two touchdowns.
His best game came in Tampa Bay's 38-10 victory over Kansas City in which he carried the ball seven times for 58 yards (8.3 avg.), including a 35-yard touchdown run. However, over the next two weeks, Blount was far less successful, totaling 13 carries for 14 yards against Minnesota and New Orleans. During the final eight games of the season, Blount only carried the ball six times for 30 yards.
The general feeling is that Blount is not an ideal fit in Mike Sullivan's offense, and the team remains concerned with his ability to be effective in the passing game, which limits his opportunities. In the past, Blount has struggled with pass protection assignments and had only one reception for two yards in 2012.
With Martin clearly establishing himself as the team's feature back, Blount wanting to re-sign with the team and take a relegated role with less production heading into unrestricted free agency is surprising. But as a restricted free agent, Blount's options were limited, and the Buccaneers can still trade him prior to the draft for a 2013 NFL Draft pick, or prior to Week 6 in the regular season for a 2014 NFL Draft selection.
Re-signing Blount means the Buccaneers will not likely address the running back position in free agency or with a premium pick the 2013 NFL Draft as the roster appears stocked with Martin, Blount, D.J. Ware and Michael Smith, a 2012 seventh-round selection.
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