The Eagles were not running back LeGarrette Blount’s only suitor.
Having won the Super Bowl with New England last season, the free agent signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia because he thought the Eagles represented the best opportunity to win another championship.
“I chose the Eagles for (several) reasons,” Blount said Thursday during a news conference streamed on the team’s website. “(It was about) me fitting in really good here, having a better season and having a championship run. (The Eagles) are a really good team. I think they’re trying to win now, for sure.”
They haven’t won in a while, however.
The Eagles went 7-9 in 2016 while missing the playoffs for the third straight season. They have not won a playoff game since 2008, when they lost at Arizona in the NFC championship game.
And Blount is joining a West Coast offense that doesn’t appear to be an ideal fit for his skill set. The 6-foot, 250-pounder is a powerful, between-the-tackles runner who led the NFL with 18 touchdowns while rushing for 1,161 yards for the Patriots last season. The Eagles like their running backs to also serve as receivers. Blount has 46 career receptions and one receiving touchdown in seven NFL seasons, including seven catches for 38 yards last season for the Patriots.
“I’m a very coachable player,” Blount said. “I’ll do whatever they want me to do. I just want to fit in somewhere.”
What coach Doug Pederson will likely want him to do is move the pile in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
Fifteen of his 18 TDs last season were scored from inside the 10-yard line. Last season, the Eagles’ running backs combined for 13 TDs in 44 carries inside the 10.
“LeGarrette Blount is a tough, physical runner who has enjoyed a great deal of success in New England, and we are excited about adding him to this football team,” Eagles Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman said Wednesday in a statement. “We feel good about the depth and competition that we have created at the running back position, and we are looking forward to getting the guys out on the field next week for OTAs (organized team activities).”
Blount joins a cast of running backs that includes Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Byron Marshall and rookies Donnel Pumphrey and Corey Clement. Ryan Mathews, last season’s leading rushing, is still on the roster but is expected to be released.
In addition to Blount, the Eagles also upgraded the offense through free agency by signing wide receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith to go with Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham.
Tight end Zach Ertz is also considered a top target for quarterback Carson Wentz.
“Carson is one of the type of players you want to build around,” Blount said. “He has the potential to be a really special player.”