LeGarrette Blount Rejoins Patricia in Detroit
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - If LeGarrette Blount makes it three in a row, it will have to be in yet another city.
The back-to-back Super Bowl champion is leaving Philadelphia for the Motor City after agreeing to a one-year deal to reunite with Matt Patricia, the new head coach of the Detroit Lions.
Patricia, of course, was the New England Patriots defensive coordinator when Blount was piling up 18 touchdowns en route to the Pats' Super Bowl LI victory.
Despite the enormous production in New England, however, Blount, 31, found the market for his services tepid until Philadelphia came calling in mid-May with a one-year deal for $1.25 million. The fact that Blount was past the line of demarcation for any RB in this league (30) with the reputation as a player who could only perform in New England limited him.
Blount blew the latter narrative up with a solid if unspectacular season in Philadelphia as a meaningful contributor on the franchise's first Super Bowl-winning team, ironically against his old mates in New England.
For most of the season, Blount was the leading man in Doug Pederson's running back-by-committee approach but also proved himself as a teammate when asked to take a step back when Jay Ajayi was acquired from Miami at the trade deadline.
Overall Blount led the Eagles in rushing with 766 yards on 173 carries, a solid 4.4 yards-per-rush, his best finish since 2013 during his first of two stints with the Pats. He added another 130 yards in the postseason and was especially effective in Super Bowl LII against New England, running for 90 yards and a TD.
This time the market shook out much better with Blount able to earn up to $4.5 million with $2M of that guaranteed.
With Blount gone, Ajayi and Corey Clement are likely to handle the bulk of the RB duties with Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey also available.
In Detriot, the top returning runners are Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner. Riddick is one of the top pass-catching backs in football but the Lions have had difficulty finding a consistent presence on the ground to complement one of the most dynamic passers in the league, Matthew Stafford.
To that end, Detroit visited with veterans Jonathan Stewart, DeMarco Murray and Frank Gore in recent days before settling on Blount.
Also on Friday the Eagles also lost free-agent kicker Caleb Sturgis to the Los Angeles Chargers and released veteran defensive end Vinny Curry due to salary-cap restraints.
Previous Super Bowl attrition has included slot cornerback Patrick Robinson leaving for New Orleans, tight end Trey Burton signing with Chicago, and defensive tackle Beau Allen choosing Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, long-time tight end Brent Celek was also released in a salary-cap move while receivers Torrey Smith and Marcus Johnson were sent off in trades that brought cornerback Daryl Worley and defensive lineman Michael Bennett back to Philly.
Philadelphia has also signed defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and linebacker Corey Nelson in free agency.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen