It’s amazing how quickly pieces can fall into place during NFL free agency.
Just a few hours after potential target Maurice Jones-Drew signed with the Raiders, the Pittsburgh Steelers responded by inking free-agent running back LeGarrette Blount to a two-year contract Friday afternoon. The news was reported by multiple media members, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo.
Our Matt Shetler called for this move, and it’s easy to see why the Steelers elected to add the 27-year-old Blount to a backfield that includes the organization’s 2013 rookie of the year in Le’Veon Bell.
Blount, a fifth-year pro, was drafted out of Oregon in 2010 by the Buccaneers. The 6-foot-1, 245-pounder rushed for 1,007 yards in his rookie season, ranking in the league’s top 10 in yards per attempt (5.0) and yards per game (77.5).
Blount’s production dropped to 781 yards in 2011 and a mere 151 in 2012, but he rejuvenated his career last season in New England. While with the Patriots, he employed his powerful running style while picking up 772 yards on 153 attempts, an average of five yards per carry.
In the playoffs, Blount exploded for 166 yards and four touchdowns in a divisional-round win over the Colts – his finest performance as a Patriot. He also found a niche on special teams in 2013, averaging 29 yards per kickoff return in 17 tries.
Assuming his upward trajectory continues, Blount could provide an interesting one-two punch out of the Pittsburgh backfield for the next two years. Both he and Bell can be elusive at times, but Blount should be a good short-yardage counterpoint and possible co-starter at tailback.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the Ravens and Patriots were interested in securing Blount’s future services, but they couldn’t match the Steelers’ financial commitment.