For quite a long while, the New York Giants were flirting with signing veteran running back LeGarrette Blount. That escapade finally reached its conclusion when Blount signed with the Philadelphia Eagles this week. More than qualifying as a Giants’ failure, though, Blount’s move actually speaks to the fact that New York didn’t really want him. They also didn’t really need him anymore.
Prior to the NFL Draft, there was a case to be made that spending a few million in salary space would be worth it to bring in Blount. The running back depth chart had been somewhat shaky. Paul Perkins would be the starter, with Shane Vereen his third-down complement. But there was no heavy, interior runner to get the tough yards or simply balance out Perkins’ style. The team had bodies but not a rotation suited for all scenarios.
Thus, in the middle rounds of the 2017 draft, New York selected Clemson product Wayne Gallman. Gallman isn’t a between-the-tackles behemoth; nor is he a veteran presence, obviously. However, his skill set should fit well with Perkins, Vereen, and the other backs. After the addition of Gallman, fitting a veteran back into the depth chart would be foolhardy unless we were sure he was better than the other options.
With Blount, we are not sure he would be any better than the Giants’ current backs. New York isn’t known for its offensive line talent. It doesn’t utilize power running formations. It relies on backs who can make people miss and create their own space. Blount wouldn’t have necessarily been a disaster here (though that was a possibility). But he also wouldn’t have possessed a ceiling any higher than current options. There was essentially no chance Blount repeated his 2016 season in Big Blue.
Reports seem to indicate that the Giants realized they didn’t need Blount. According to ESPN, they sent him a low-ball offer, knowing he would certainly sign somewhere else instead. It remains to be seen if that offer was even significantly above the tender he was given from New England.
The Giants may have wanted Blount at one point earlier in the offseason but changed their minds in May. They would have surely taken him and found room for him, at a dirt cheap price. Otherwise, the team’s interest was just a bit of sportsmanship. Some Giants fans may be upset that the organization didn’t put in enough effort pursuing Blount. But those fans should take solace in the fact that New York feels comfortable with its running back rotation.