For those still holding out hope that the Detroit Lions may make a significant upgrade to their backfield, the team may have run out of options on Wednesday morning. The Philadelphia Eagles announced that they have agreed to terms with former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the deal is for one year and is worth up to $2.8 million.
A few weeks ago, the Lions were reportedly one of two teams interested in bringing Blount aboard, along with the New York Giants. However, the Lions never seemed to act on that interest, instead bringing former Vikings running back Matt Asiata to rookie minicamp for a tryout. Asiata has not signed a deal with the Lions as of Wednesday morning.
Blount could have fit the power back role that Detroit seems to currently have vacant with their set of backs. Detroit ranked 30th in rushing yards per game last year and 27th in yards per carry. Short yardage situations were especially difficult for the Lions. According to Football Outsiders, the Lions were successful in short-yardage “power” runs on just 56 percent of tries, good for 26th in the league. Blount, Football Outsiders’ 14th-best back last year, led the league in 18 rushing touchdowns in 2016.
Though it is a little disappointing to see the Lions miss out on Blount, it seems pretty clear their interest wasn’t that strong. In fact, according to Rapoport, only the Giants and Cardinals had offers on the table (not including the Patriots’ tendered offer) when Blount chose the Eagles. All offseason both head coach Jim Caldwell and general manager Bob Quinn have professed their confidence in their current squad of backs. Even if they were interested in Blount, that price tag was probably a little higher than he was worth anyway.