The New England Patriots dealt running back Jeff Demps and a seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for LeGarrette Blunt on Saturday. The trade ends Demps' one-year stay in New England, where he did not play in a game.
New England has reportedly been unhappy that Demps prioritized his track and field work over his football career. By the time the draft came around, it was no secret that they were open to trading him. Demps missed all of last season, his rookie year, after being placed in injured reserve in August.
Demps skipped last year's combine and draft to prepare for the 2012 Olympics, where he won a silver medal as part of the United States' 4x100 meter relay team. He has continued to train in track and is hoping to make the 2016 Olympic team while also playing football. It's a two-sport balance he has been upfront about ever since leaving Florida for the NFL.
Tampa Bay has long been high on Demps and will be happy to pick him up, but this appears to be more about getting rid of Blount than getting Demps for the Bucs. Blount ran for 1,007 yards as a rookie, but he never found a fit under Greg Schiano. The two didn't mesh, and last season Blount got just 41 carries as Doug Martin picked up the load for Tampa Bay. That pushed the Bucs to try and deal him, and they were able to get Demps for a bonus.
Blount is part of a crowded backfield picture in New England. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen are well entrenched as Bill Belichick's top two running backs. Leon Washington, acquired in March, is likely to get a roster spot as a return man. Blount will need a strong training camp and preseason showing to stick around this season.