The Patriots Use an Obscure Rule to Keep LeGarrette Blount from the Ravens


ESPN BaltimoreAny interest that the Baltimore Ravens had in free-agent running back LeGarrette Blount was likely squashed because of a move made this week by the Super Bowl champions.

The New England Patriots exercised a little-known rule on Tuesday, which means any team signing Blount would lose a compensatory pick in the league formula. This would preclude the Ravens from signing last year’s NFL leader in rushing touchdowns if they don’t want to gamble forfeiting a projected third-round pick in the 2018 draft.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Patriots extended a one-year, $1.1 million tender (110 percent of last year’s salary) to Blount, an unrestricted free agent. By doing so, Blount would count toward New England’s compensatory draft picks if he signs elsewhere before July 22. After that date, he can only sign with the Patriots for the 2017 season.

The Ravens would represent a good fit for Blount. His bruising running style would complement Baltimore’s upgraded defense. But, as explains, the Ravens would put their projected third-round pick in jeopardy.

I have to confess I’ve been a little torn about the Patriots pulling out this obscure FA tender rule nobody had ever heard of before as leverage against LeGarrette Blount.

On the one hand, I appreciate that they uncovered this thing somewhere in the NFL’s fine print. It’s like they’ve got Ernie Adams or some intern or a House Elf or whoever who’s only job is to comb through the parenthetical phrases of the sub paragraphs of footnotes of the CBA looking for loopholes they can exploit. It’s them managing their personnel the same way they operate on the field. It’s hard not to admire that level of deviousness.

On the other hand, it’s not exactly the best thing for Blount. He’s No. 80 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 and still not signed even though we’re almost to Mother’s Day. It seems kind of unnecessary, given that they’ve added Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee and appeared to have moved on. Limiting his movement kind of feels like a guy dumping his girlfriend and then worrying about who she’s dating. Plus Blount is 30, which in running back years is like your ex being 50. Her options are pretty limited no matter how many times a week she goes to yoga.

For Blount’s part, he doesn’t seem too bitter about it. He was seen grabassing with Belichick and Mr. Kraft courtside of the Celtics Game 5:


… and hasn’t said anything publicly, so he seems to get it’s not personal, just business. And maybe the Patriots just have every intention of bringing him to camp.

On the other, other hand, they don’t make the rules. They just exploit them. Better than anyone. Giving zero fucks about “unwritten” rules or doing things that are in the book but never used is just them doing business as business is done. It’s the old “if you don’t like it, change it.”

But the final hand for me is the idea they slapped this tag not to screw LeGarrette Blount but to screw the Ravens. That alone justifies it. It’s using the rule book to their advantage, just like they did with the tackle eligible plays in the 2014 playoffs. The Ravens hated it. They started Deflategate in retaliation. And no amount of shoving other obscure loopholes up their asses is enough. As Brady said to John Harbaugh then, study the rulebook.

P.S. What is it about the Baltimore/DC region? Maximus, a people should know when they’re conquered.