LeGarrette Blount is planning on having a big season. He’s got a new head coach, a new pro bowl blocker and a new system that may feature him heavily. He feels he should be a featured back and want to prove he can carry the full load all other backs do.
That big season began today when Blount and wide receiver Preston Parker signed their exclusive rights free agent tenders.
In the abysmal season the Bucs had last season, there were arguably two players that actually held their own and actually pulled their share of the weight. Blount and Parker are really the only two names you can’t direct a whole lot of individual criticism at. There problems were generated by others, namely the offensive line.
Thanks to the pincushion protection that was in Tampa last year, Blount couldn’t break free (except for his run against the Packers) and Parker couldn’t get the ball due to Josh Freeman not getting effective protection and time to throw.
The way a free gent exclusive rights tender works: players who have accrued two or fewer years of free agency credit in the NFL become exclusive rights free agents when their contracts expire. These free agents are only allowed to negotiate with their current teams, provided those teams have extended the necessary qualifying offers before the start of the open market.
The Bucs did extend such offers to arguably their top two performers on either side of the ball.
With the additions of Carl Nicks on the offensive line and Vincent Jackson to the receiving crops, both Parker and Blount may be looking at bigger deals next year and in Blount’s case possibly a deal with another team.
Blount has expressed displeasure at the idea of the Buccaneers drafting Trent Richardson from Alabama. Regardless of whether Blount feels miffed if the Bucs draft Richardson, expect a big season either way. The tenders are one year offers and if Blount wants a serious contract from the Bucs or any other team, he will need to earn it this year.
This actually puts Tampa in a perfect position. Even if they get Richardson,they’ll get a good look at both players and decide where they want to go.
Parker is also in a position to earn more money as well. With Jackson heading the receiving corps, Parker is going to see more slot action and can quietly become one of the best at his position in the league, especially with news that Percy Harvin in Minnesota will need shoulder surgery.
But for now one thing is certain: LeGarrette Blount and Preston Parker will be in Tampa next year and rightfully so.