Running back LeGarrette Blount exploded on to the scene in 2010 when the Bucs picked him up off of waivers from the Tennessee Titans. He has been serviceable in 27 games with Tampa Bay as he has rushed for 1,788 yards and eleven touchdowns. But could he be playing elsewhere by the end of the 2012 season?
Just a day after Chargers’ head coach Norv Turner told the Sand Diego Union-Tribune that he feels starter Ryan Mathews is ready for the next step, there are rumblings out of San Diego suggesting the Chargers are actually in need of some backfield help for Mathews. Who are they being mentioned with in the same sentence? Bucs running back LeGarrette Blount.
Blount signed his exclusive rights tender back in April, giving him a salary of $540,000 for 2012 and making him a restricted free agent after the season is over. The tender does not prohibit the Buccaneers from shopping him around if they get any interest in return so the possibility of a trade is not unlikely.
The theory is back up running back Curtis Brinkley is not the compliment back that San Diego is looking for behind Mathews. The loss of Darren Sproles to the Saints during free agency last season hurt the San Diego backfield for depth and change of pace but Mathews managed a 1,000 yard season carrying the load in 2011.
The Bucs have also caused a running back controversy in the media after drafting Boise State running back Doug Martin. Many have reported that Martin will be named the starting running back by the time training camp begins. If so then San Diego may come into play for Blount, especially if the Bucs fear that his fumbling issues can not be corrected (Mathews has had problems holding on to the football too).
This isn’t the first time the Chargers have been linked to Blount. Back in 2010, they heavily scouted Blount at Oregon and during workouts leading into the draft. His character issues at the time steered them away as well as other teams which lead him to go undrafted and signed as an undrafted rookie with the Titans.
Whether or not interest from San Diego evolves into talks with the Bucs remains to be seen. Head coach Greg Schiano has made it known he wants to run the football so sticking with Blount and Martin in the backfield will benefit the team in production and depth.
However, if a trade does go down at any point, it wouldn’t be surprising. Crazier things have happened.
(Photo credit: Associated Press)