LeGarrette Blount unlikely to play role of savior for Eagles

LeGarrette Blount unlikely to play role of savior for Eagles

The Eagles needed a running back, and LeGarrette Blount was the best option remaining on the free-agent market. A one-year, incentive-laden, minimally guaranteed deal makes sense.

Before declaring the Blount signing a victory for the Eagles, just be aware of exactly what the offense is getting.

Blount posted impressive totals in 2016 with 1,161 yards on the ground and a league-leading 18 rushing touchdowns during the regular season. He also led the NFL with 5.4 yards per carry in short-yardage situations, which have long been an issue for the Eagles.

Blount also averaged a subpar 3.9 yards over all 299 of his carries, which ranked 30th out of 42 qualifying backs. He managed just seven receptions on the year as well, accounting for almost 10 percent of his career output as a receiver.

Blount may be the best short-yardage back in the league, but he’s one-dimensional. He provides no support for the passing attack, thus defenses stack eight men in the box when they see him coming.

Obviously, the New England Patriots thought better about retaining such a limited player, which should be reason enough to give pause to any celebration.

The Patriots have a track record of turning castoffs and role players into stars. That’s relevant here, too, because Blount never enjoyed near the same success in stints with the Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Why will his luck be any different with the Eagles?

The closest Blount came to becoming a feature back prior to joining the Patriots were his first two seasons in the league. Released by the Titans out of training camp, Blount caught on with the Bucs and managed to eclipse 1,000 yards as a rookie. He quickly fell out of favor, was reduced to 41 carries by year three and allowed to depart as a free agent.

Blount spent 2013 restoring his value with the Patriots, then joined the Steelers. That arrangement didn’t last long, either, as he was released after 11 games, before finding his way back to New England, where he spent the past two-and-a-half years.

Blount racked up 2,917 yards and 34 rushing touchdowns in parts of four seasons with the Patriots, where he helped carry the team to a pair of Super Bowl championships. In parts of four seasons spent with the Titans, Bucs and Steelers, he totaled 2,205 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground and was released twice. Now, he’s 30.

None of which is to say Blount can’t help the Eagles. At 6-foot-0, 250 pounds, he brings size, power and a veteran presence to a backfield that is likely to lose Ryan Mathews. Even with Mathews, the Eagles ranked 26th in short-yardage situations in '16.

Blount could be less effective in those situations and still be of service. Merely putting him on the field has defenses guessing run, opening up play action and bootlegs for Carson Wentz.

Frankly, the Eagles needed a veteran back to come in and compete with the current group, not to mention a bigger back who can handle 200-plus carries.

Nonetheless, Blount is the definition of a Band-Aid, and it’s unclear whether he’s enough to cover the gaping hole the Eagles have at running back. He’s only really experienced success with the best team in the league, and his skill set doesn’t especially fit the west coast offense.

With only $400,000 of his salary for 2017 guaranteed, it appears the Eagles may share similar concerns.

This was a move the Eagles absolutely needed to make, but one that is far from assured of working out. As long as everybody is aware of that going in, Blount won’t disappoint.

Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers someday

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Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers someday

Forget about Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan. (Forget about Millville too — sorry, Mike Trout.)

Another South Jersey star athlete has his eyes on playing for a Philadelphia franchise someday.

Yes, we're talking about Carneys Point, New Jersey's very own, Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames.

On a radio hit Friday with 94WIP's "Morning Show," Gaudreau expressed his interest in one day putting on the orange and black.

“It would be sweet to play [in Philadelphia] someday,” Gaudreau said. “You never know in sports, but it’s a lot of support back here in South Jersey and the Philly area.

“I’ve got a ton of family here, all my friends. All my friends come back here, all my good friends and kids that I’ve played with my whole life are from South Jersey.”

The problem is, "Johnny Hockey" has five years left on his six-year, $40.5 million contract extension he signed with Calgary signed before last season. 

In the final year of his contract, 2021-22, Gaudreau has a modified no-trade clause … and yep, the Flyers are reportedly on that list too.

Gaudreau, who turns 24 on Aug. 13, scored 18 goals and 61 points in 72 games last season with the Flames. The 5-foot-9, 157-pound Gaudreau has 73 goals and 204 points in 232 career games in Calgary.

The former Hobey Baker Award winner will be turning 29 when he's able to reach unrestricted free agency.

Could he be what Jeff Carter was to the Kings in 2012 to the Flyers in 2022?

Only time will tell.

H/t to Sportsnet.

Why Philadelphia must reject LeBron James

Why Philadelphia must reject LeBron James

Why do the Sixers always have to ruin everything?

First they get our hopes up with a draft and free agency period that actually involved picking good players who aren’t injured or committed to playing overseas. It was just what we’ve wanted for years: A complete rejection of the foul legacy of Sam Hinkie.

But then Markelle Fultz got hurt in Summer League, with an “ankle sprain” that I’m sure will heal properly and not cause any setbacks that might cause Fultz to sit out some or all of training camp, the pre-season, or his entire rookie year. I trust the Sixers’ medical staff. After all, they helped get us to where we are today.

Then the Sixers had the gall to charge fans to sign up for the season ticket waiting list -- if you ask me, after the last four years, season tickets should be free. Just about the Sixers have exciting players and might be better, they think they can charge more for tickets? That’s ridiculous!

Then something even worse happened: LeBron James, it appears, is FRIENDS with Ben Simmons. And based on that... we’re hearing LeBron might sign with the Sixers as a free agent next year.

NO. Absolutely not. Even though I’m usually more on his dad’s side when it comes to the Sixers, I agree with Spike Eskin: I’d rather lose a championship without LeBron than win one with him.

The reasons are simple. LeBron isn’t one of us. He’s not a Philly Guy. He’s not loyal. He’s from Ohio. He doesn’t get our lunchpail mentality. Remember The Decision? All the choking? And besides, when you win a championship with a big free agent, it doesn’t really count. If he wins with us, he'll just move on to the next team. 

And don’t you dare compare his chasing a ring with Pete Rose signing with the Phillies in 1979. That was totally different.

And most importantly, there's this:

Luckily, football season is about to start, and at least there’s some good news on that front. Ezekiel Elliott has been getting arrested at an Okafor-like clip. Chris Christie lied about tanning at a closed public beach, showing once again that Cowboys fans can’t be trusted with power. And free agent D’Angelo Williams announced that, because of how terrible their fans are, he would never sign with the Cowboys. Everything about them just screams 3-13.

The Eagles? Eh.

Other Philly sports takes:

I was with Iverson through the practice rants, his feuds with teammates and coaches, his sad alcoholism and throwing his naked wife out of the house. But skipping BIG3, here in Philly? He’s gone too far.

Ben Simmons, though, is the anti-Allen Iverson: He regularly produces highlight-reel excitement in practices, but never plays in games.

This Phillies team badly needs toughness, discipline and splittle-inflected rage. Yes, it needs Larry Bowa.

I’m all for the Phils trading for Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich. Then, all they have to do is trade all their remaining outfielders for Mike Trout.

Joel Embiid needs to stop putting his long-term health at risk with dangerous, risky stunts like standing in the crowd at the Home Run Derby.

A little presumptuous of Carson Wentz, founding a charitable foundation after just one year in the league. You have to EARN that.

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