Free agent LeGarrette Blount signed a two-year, $3.85 million contract with the Steelers Friday, leaving the Patriots in need of some depth at running back.
Blount had a very productive 2013 with the Patriots, recording 772 yards and seven touchdowns. But his talent isn’t the only reason he’ll be missed. A healthy Shane Vereen can make up for what Blount was able to do last season. The biggest problem with Blount’s departure is the fact that Vereen, Stevan Ridley, and Brandon Bolden, the Patriots’ most productive running backs, will all be free agents after next season. The Patriots don’t have any running backs under contract after 2015.
It definitely wouldn’t hurt for the Patriots to add to their running backs this offseason. However, the free agency market for running backs right now isn’t exactly overflowing with talent. The most viable free agent option for the Patriots would be Andre Brown, who recorded 492 yards with three touchdowns in eight games for the Giants in 2013. Otherwise, it seems as though they’d have more luck picking up a running back in the draft.
At this point, finding a solid running back should be added to the list of the Patriots’ draft priorities. They’ve already worked out some other prospects in priority positions, so don’t be surprised if a running back or two come to town. Most notably, the Pats worked out Auburn pass rusher Dee Ford, Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, and even Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.