Pats deal Demps and pick to Bucs for RB Blount

Pats deal Demps and pick to Bucs for RB Blount
April 27, 2013, 5:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- The Patriots unloaded Jeff Demps on Saturday, shipping the reluctant returner (and the 229th pick) to Tampa in exchange for one of the hardest running backs in the league, LeGarrette Blount.
But the hard-running Blount ran into hard times in Tampa Bay as he was outperformed by rookie Doug Martin in the 2012 preseason and ran the ball just 41 times.
The 6-0, 247-pound Blount carried 201 times for 1,007 yards in his rookie season of 2010. In 2011 he ran for 781 yards on 184 carries. He also fumbled three times in each of his first two seasons with Tampa.
Both Martin and D.J. Ware leapfrogged Blount in the Tampa backfield last season under new coach Greg Schiano.
Blount’s been on the block since before the trade deadline last year.
The deal for Blount marks another instance of Bill Belichick and Schiano, the former Rutgers coach, working in concert to solve issues.
Last season, the Bucs dealt Aqib Talib to New England while the corner was still on PED suspension. The Bucs got a fifth pick in return and bid adieu to a player who needed a fresh start. The Patriots got a corner who played very well down the stretch and was re-signed by the Patriots to a one-year deal this offseason.
The Patriots have made Rutgers, where Schiano used to coach, one of their farm teams. In addition to defensive back Devin McCourty and defensive lineman Justin Francis, the Patriots have spent two draft picks on former Schiano recruits, corner Logan Ryan and safety Duron Harmon.
Demps, meanwhile, was toast when he made clear he wasn’t all that into football and wanted to run track as well.
In ate March, Demps told a Florida radio show that his pitch to Belichick would be, “In order for me to get where I want on the track and field side, it’ll take a full year of prep. After the season if you guys are willing to let me come back midseason, I’ll be able to do that. If not, I guess I’ll just focus on running.”
Demps signed a three-year contract with the Patriots last August after competing for Team USA in the London Olympics as a sprinter. His base salary in 2012 was $390K. His base in 2013 is set to be $405K. His signing bonus was a modest $11K.
When Demps was injured in the final preseason game against the Giants, the Patriots put him on injured reserve. While Demps’ injury was not season-ending, his lack of training camp participation made the IR move a fortuitous move for New England in that it gave them a redshirt season in which they could prep Demps for 2013. That, as it turns out, won’t be necessary.