By: Will Burchfield
After passing on a running back in the draft it appears the Lions are eyeing an upgrade through free agency. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Lions are one of at least two teams “squarely in play for (Legarrette) Blount.”
The Giants are also reportedly interested.
Blount, who racked up over 1,100 yards on the ground and led the league in rushing touchdowns (18) last season with the Patriots, hasn’t received much interest on the free agent market. But the Lions, lacking a bigger-bodied complement to the likes of Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick in the backfield, could be a sensible destination.
Per Yahoo! Sports:
“The Lions may be the most obvious fit, with a stable of running backs who don’t bring the same physical mentality to first or second down. Detroit also has general manager Bob Quinn who was in the New England personnel ranks during Blount’s tenure with the Patriots. It means something to have Quinn calling the shots, especially after he watched Bill Belichick add Blount to the roster twice.
“With the draft wrapped, Blount’s market is as thin as it is going to get. That should soften his position on price and put both the Lions and Giants in a position to hammer out a team-friendly deal. The expectation is that Blount will find a team in the next few weeks, and most-certainly not later than the resumption of organized team activities following rookie minicamps.”
Lions GM Bob Quinn declined comment on the Blount report while visiting with the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket on Tuesday morning.
“We’ve talked to a lot of players that are still unrestricted free agents. Not going to really comment on anything specific, one player or position,” he said.
Quinn did say, however, that he has faith in the Lions’ ground game as things stand today.
“Our running backs, when they’re healthy, and we feel that they’re going to be ready for the season, are more than capable of producing enough yards on the ground. With the upgrades we’ve done on the offensive line I think they’re going to have more room to run,” Quinn said.
Both Riddick and Abdullah possess NFL-level talent but have had trouble staying healthy, Abdullah in particular. The latter has undergone two surgeries through two seasons and missed almost all of 2016 with a foot injury.
The Lions also have Zach Zenner, Dwayne Washington and Mike James on the roster at running back. Quinn left the door open on adding to that group before the start of the 2017 season.
“Between Ameer, Theo, Zach, Dwayne, Mike and whoever else we may bring in here in the future, I think we’re going to have plenty of running backs to carry the load,” he said.
Whether Blount will be one of them remains to be seen.