The staff here at Cover32 yesterday asked the question: Should Legarrette Blount return to the Tampa Bay Bucs. After all, he played really well down the stretch for the Patriots last season, and was once a 1,000 yard rusher here in Tampa. After some careful consideration I have concluded…absolutely not! The last thing the Bucs need to do this off-season is re-sign the 4th year pro. I have five rock solid reasons why Blount needs to take his skills somewhere besides Raymond James Stadium.
5. He is not Lovie Smith’s kind of guy. Smith is trying to change an attitude and culture in the Bucs locker room. The last player Smith wants to bring in is Blount. Legarrette’s resume is riddled with on and off the field issues and altercations in both college and the NFL. Tampa has enough headaches going into 2014, and they don’t need any more.
4. The Bucs are in good shape at running back. Yeah, I know Doug Martin is coming off a shoulder injury but all indications are he will be ready for OTAs and camp. Mike James and Bobby Rainey both got valuable playing time last year and showed they can complement any running game. All three should be healthy and ready to go. Why would we pay Blount what he is asking for? The Patriots might offer him $2 million and somebody in need (the Giants and Dolphins for example) may up that price. We do not want to get into a bidding war for an often troubled running back.
3. He offers nothing in the passing game. In four years he’s caught 23 passes. That’s only 23 more passes than I’ve caught in the last four campaigns. The last thing we need to do is give our 2nd year QB a running back that can’t catch the ball.
2. You can always get a running back. This is not the NFL of the 70s when you could only win with Tony Dorsett, Franco Harris, Earl Campbell or Walter Payton. This has become a passing league and running backs are a dime a dozen. If Tampa really needs to add a veteran back they can sign James Starks or Ben Tate or Rashard Mendahall or Donald Brown or any of a half-dozen serviceable backs. Oh yeah, and none of these guys come with off the field baggage or a multi-million dollar price tag. I don’t think the Bucs need another back but, if the need should arise, somebody not named Blount will be looking for work.
1. Tampa is not New England. Unlike the Patriots, there is no Tom Brady or Will Wolfork or any other host of players who manage the locker room. The Bucs will get there but, this is not a veteran team that can absorb a Blount-like character. In a couple years under Lovie Smith, I believe the Bucs will be able to take a chance on a guy with questionable character and off the field issues but not now, not this season.
I recommend the Bucs let the Giants or Dolphins take a chance on Blount and stick with Martin, Rainey and Smith, injuries and all.