screen-shot-2017-04-01-at-4-01-30-pmBy Max Cohen 3/31/2017

He has long been the Patriots work horse, but now the Super Bowl champs may be putting that horse out to pasture.

Three weeks have passed in the NFL free agency period and there is still no word from the Patriots, or any other team for that matter, when it comes to free agent running back LeGarrette Blount. Blount led the Patriots’ rushing attack with 1161 yards and led the league with 18 rushing touchdowns. He was a key part of the Patriots’ offense last season.

Blount was unstoppable in goal line situations, bursting through the line, and often times through multiple defenders, on his way to a score. He also broke off big runs late in games after wearing down the defense with his hard-nosed running style. His running also help the passing game, keeping the defense honest on play-action fakes, giving Tom Brady and his offensive line a little extra time to work.

Although the Patriots have other talented running backs like James White and Dion Lewis, they don’t have the same bruising skill set of Blount. When White and Lewis are on the field, it’s typically a passing situation. You still have to worry about their running ability, but standing at 5’10” and 5’8″ respectively, there is no need for opposing defenses to fear the run as much without Blount on the field.

Blount has been in the league for seven seasons and at 30-years old, he’s reached the age when running backs start to show their wear and tear. Those factors, plus a high salary demand could make him less attractive to other teams.

The Patriots also signed Rex Burkhead, who has a tough running style similar to Blount’s. If Burkhead can actually prove to be a suitable replacement, the Patriots might have another free agency steal on their hands and will saddle-up this fall without LaGarret Blount in the stable.