The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finally ended the Legarrette Blount saga, trading him to the New England Patriots for track star/return man Jeff Demps and the 229th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft according to Tom Curran of CSNNE. Blount ran for 1,007 yards as an undrafted rookie in 2010, but fell out of favor with the Buccaneers coaching staff when Greg Schiano came in. He got just 41 carries for 151 yards last year, as the Bucs used Doug Martin to carry the load.
Blount was limited because of his deficiencies on passing downs, as he struggles to produce as a receiver out of the backfield and the coaching staff didn't appear to trust him as a pass blocker. The Bucs did re-sign him to a one-year, $1.25 million contract this offseason but they only did so in lieu of applying a second-round tender so they could trade him.
Jeff Demps was an undrafted free agent last year out of Florida who signed with the New England Patriots but missed the entire season due to an injury. The Patriots reportedly wanted to trade Demps because he didn't want to give up his track and field career. One can hardly blame him: Demps went to the Olympics and earned a silver medal as part of the U.S. 4x100m relay squad. Obviously the Bucs don't have a problem with him continuing to run track, or they wouldn't have traded for him.
Demps is nominally a running back, but he's more likely to do his work for the Bucs as a return man until they figure out to way to get the diminutive but speedy man involved on offense -- and until he learns how to play NFL football. Demps may be fast, and he was reasonably productive in college, but he's far from a polished football player. Missing all of last year won't have helped his football skills, either.
Blount was a solid runner for the Buccaneers, although he suffered from some inconsistencies and failed to consistently run with power despite his size. With Blount out of Tampa, the Buccaneers will continue to lean on Doug Martin to anchor the run game, with Brian Leonard likely playing the role of third-down back and the speedy Michael Smith and Jeff Demps likely competing for playing time. The Bucs won't have any back capable of carrying a decent part of the load if Martin gets injured, however, and they will likely add a running back with one of their two remaining draft picks in the sixth or seventh round.