The final piece of the puzzle? Five takeaways from Eagles signing LeGarrette Blount

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The Eagles sprung a surprise today, announcing the signing of seven-year veteran running back, LeGarrette Blount. The 30-year old veteran brings a lot of power to the Eagles backfield, as well as opening up the offensive hugely. Here are five key takeaways from this signing.

 

Prove it!
Well, after an offseason of much debate, the Eagles appear to have finally found their three-down back..for now. On what’s yet another free agent prove it deal, the Eagles have managed to bring in one of the top free agent running backs available, and at a fraction of the price that others were demanding.

The deal is said to be worth up to $2.8M, with $1.55M of that being incentive based, meaning that the cap-strapped Eagles have been able to sign a running back who came off a career year in 2016, leading the league in rushing touchdowns with 18. It will be interesting to see who of the Eagles offseason signings are resigned at the end of next season, but as things stand..the Eagles may have found the one missing element from their backfield.

 

The Eagles have their three-down back:
That element is a three-down rusher. Ahead of day three of the NFL Draft, Pederson spoke glowingly of a potential powerhouse who could force his way up the gut relentlessly. The team would go on to sign Corey Clement as an undrafted free agent, but with 43 career starts under his belt, Blount brings with him proven experience at the NFL level..and a lot of success.

Many have wondered whether any running back in Pederson’s Offense could receive over 20 carries pet game..but there may be no more fitting candidate than the two-time Super Bowl winner. With 470 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in as many career playoff games, Blount is a back who can dominate the game when chewing the clock if needed. If the Eagles are to balance the offense, having an extremely durable, and reliable three-down rusher is essential..and with over 2,000 yards in his last 33-regular season games for the Pats, Blount ticks all the boxes.

 

What does this mean for Ryan Mathews?
The obvious knock-on effect is that the future looks very bleak for Ryan Mathews. Said to be rehabbing and preparing to play in 2017, Mathews’ future with the Eagles has taken a tremendous knock today..with Blount all but securing his spot at the top of the depth chart. With Sproles and Pumphrey combining for a lethal tandem, and Wendell Smallwood supporting valiantly, there may be simply no room for the services of an injury-prone back carrying a relatively large cap hit considering his usage. The Eagles can’t release him until he’s healthy once again, but for the former Chargers running back, things aren’t looking too great.

 

Short-yardage turnaround:
The Eagles struggled on third and short last year, simple. To the point where Pederson’s coaching decisions were often called into question as he tried to figure out how to consistently move the chains. Blount is one of the best short yardage backs in the league. A bruiser who can push the pile and assert his authority in the trenches, breaking tackles and find space in the second level, Blount gives the Eagles some much needed firepower on third down..and may just be enough to keep what momentum that was gone all too quickly last season.

 

Eagles Offense is sneaky scary:
To put it simply, the Eagles offense is dangerous. Before Blount, the amount of outside weapons and dominant offensive linemen alone would cause headaches, but when you add in a running back who has 49 career scores and over 5,000 career rushing yards, the playbook opens up massively. Last year, the Eagles were one dimensional..and with both Ertz and Matthews missing at opposite times, that dimension was all too easy to defend.

With an incredibly dynamic backfield, a slew of receivers whom possess chips on their shoulder, a franchise quarterback, and a strong and deep offensive line, the Eagles could be set to do more than just turn heads in 2016..if Blount does prove to be the missing piece of the puzzle.

 

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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