The Detroit Lions Podcast Writing Staff Share Their Thoughts On The LeGarrette Blount Signing.
The signing of LeGarrette Blount is something that many Detroit Lions fans were hoping would happen last year. Instead, the Lions opted to enter into the 2017 season with most of the same guys they carried in 2016. LeGarrette Blount signed with the Eagles and went on to win a Super Bowl. After another year of struggling to run the football, the Detroit Lions decided to bring in LeGarrette Blount for the 2018 NFL season.
The DLP writing staff takes a look at how they think this signing will affect the running game in this upcoming season.
Addressing the run game was a major necessity for Bob Quinn this offseason. Adding Blount should give a boost to short-yardage situations at the very least. He’s been successful in his role as closer in past seasons as well. Having a strong downhill runner to chew the clock with a lead is something the Lions have been missing.
While Blount isn’t going to be the answer as an every down back, his signing adds a layer to the run game that the Lions haven’t had in quite awhile. Being able to sign him on a cheap contract for one year is all the better. Great pickup.
LeGarrette Blount is a signing that I wish the Detroit Lions would have made last year. I’m still glad that they made it happen this year. Power running is something that the team has lacked for years, and the team’s inability to convert in short-yardage situations has plagued the Lions consistently over that time period.
Signing Blount should go a long way towards remedying the issue. This doesn’t solve the entire backfield. The Lions still likely need a running back in the 2018 NFL Draft, but the addition of LeGarrette Blount allows the Lions a little more flexibility in both who they draft at running back and when they draft a running back.
Blount’s contract is a little more expensive than it was last year, but it is incentive heavy, and I think the Lions got him for a value.
I believe signing LeGarrette Blount was a solid move by GM Bob Quinn. The Lions haven’t had a true power back in years, as Dwayne Washington isn’t impressive and Zach Zenner rarely sees the field. Blount is able to not only run with power but speed as well. He won’t be running a 4.4 40-yard dash, but he has the ability to go from trucking players left and right, to turning on that second level speed and getting away from defenders. Having him also mentor a rookie running back will be helpful for the young guy.
The man knows how to win, winning back-to-back championships with two different teams, in two different conferences. Blount with Riddick and a rookie running back will be a nasty trio for Matt Stafford. Abdullah will still see some play time, but Blount will take most of his time. Contract-wise, it is a cheap deal, even if Blount reaches all of his goals. Blount most likely won’t be back in 2019, so for a one-year rental, he is worth it.
LeGarrette Blount was an amazing signing for the Lions and general manager Bob Quinn, and here are the reasons why:
Blount will allow the Lions offense to use a lot more power running, which is something offensive line coach Jeff Davidson has brought with him to every team he has coached. Being able to commit to this running style will make the Lions rushing attack much more consistent. Blount’s hard north-south running style makes him a fantastic fit for the type of scheme coach Davidson will want to implement in Detroit.
On top of this, Blount is just flat out a good player. In his career, Blount has played for four teams and rushed for 5881 yards and 51 touchdowns at 4.4 yards per carry. He is just one season removed from a season in which he ran for 1161 yards and 18 touchdowns with the New England Patriots. Last season, he ran for 766 yards with the Eagles despite splitting carries with Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement. Even if you disregard Blount being such a good scheme fit, you can’t deny that he is a good player.
Blount has also been a fantastic performer in the postseason. In 11 playoff games, he has run for 600 yards and 11 touchdowns at 4.3 yards per carry. He’s won three of the last four Super Bowls, two with the Patriots and one with the Eagles.
The Lions are expected to add a rookie running back in the upcoming draft. Signing Blount does not change this, as Blount is 31 years old, but it does add flexibility to the type of back they can draft. Before signing Blount, the Lions were almost certainly looking at drafting a power back. Now, they can draft whichever back they feel is the best player available. This signing could also give the Lions the benefit of waiting until the third round or later to draft a running back. Before Blount was signed, many fans and analysts said the Lions must draft a running back within the first two rounds of the draft.
Lastly, Blount came to the Lions on a very reasonable contract. His deal is one year for $2,000,000 with incentives that could make the deal worth up to $4,500,000. If Blount gets paid by the Lions, it is going to be because he earns it through incentives, in which case both Blount and the team will greatly benefit. The Lions also aren’t shackled to Blount in the long term in case his age does start to show. However, he has shown no signs of slowing down thus far.
Looking at the running back contracts this off-season, they have definitely been benefiting from the salary cap increases. Some look at the $4.5m, one-year contract for newly signed Lions running back LeGarrette Blount as too high. However, given the increasing price for the market and also nearly $2m of the $4.5 is based on play, I do not see the contract as a bad one. Blount will finally bring a level of power and toughness the running back position has not seen in Detroit in some time. He also has shown more wiggle and open field ability than I think he gets credit for. I do still believe the Lions will draft a rookie running back to pair with Blount, but he will help them improve in an area they were the worst team at in 2017: short yardage running conversions and ability convert goal line touchdowns.
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