Free agency hasn't even started yet, but the Patriots are already preparing to release one of last year's key contributors: LeGarrette Blount. As CSNNE reported on Tuesday, the "expectation" is that the running back won't return to New England next year.
Blount was a large part of the Patriots' Super Bowl run in 2016. As a 30-year-old on a one-year deal, Blount exploded for 1,161 rushing yards and paced the league with 18 rushing scores. While he sometimes disappeared for games, he was a force between the tackles and helped keep defenses honest with Tom Brady and the Pats' aerial attack.
However, Blount's advanced age and lack of versatility makes this feel a bit inevitable. He was never a proficient receiver (the Pats had Dion Lewis and James White for that), and he had a tendency to be ineffective for whole games at points. And as good as he was when he was rolling, he was average throughout the playoffs. Without a sustained track record of success outside of New England, he was a prime target for roster cuts in 2017, especially with a loaded running back draft class.
If the reports are true and he's released, it will be sad to see Blount go. During his time in New England, he's been one of the funniest Patriots around. His 1-yard touchdown runs and celebrations with the minutemen will certainly be missed. But as always with Bill Belichick, it's time to look to the future--all good things must come to an end, and this is just another one of those things. With or without Blount, the show will go on.