The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have traded fourth-year running back LeGarrette Blount to the New England Patriots. General Manager Mark Dominik completed the deal between making picks in the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft on Saturday, acquiring a seventh-round pick (#226 overall) and the rights to versatile running back/return man Jeff Demps.
While Demps is an intriguing prospect – a silver medal-winning track star at the 2012 Summer Olympics and a former football standout at the University of Florida – it was the draft pick that the Buccaneers targeted in exchange for Blount. Demps reportedly would like to continue pursuing both of his athletic endeavors after spending the 2012 NFL season on injured reserve.
"Jeff Demps was part of [the trade], but not the reason," said Dominik shortly after the deal was announced. "We were going to do LeGarrette Blount for a seventh-round pick but we asked for the rights to Jeff Demps because we want to investigate that further. We thought it would be worth it to at least get his rights to talk to him. That's a side part of the deal."
The trade of Blount was not unexpected after rookie Doug Martin assumed the vast majority of the team's rushing load in 2012 and emerged as a Pro Bowl player. Blount, who had a 1,000-yard season as a rookie after the Bucs claimed him off waivers from the Tennessee Titans, carried the ball just 41 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns last fall.
"As an organization, this was a team decision that we felt was in the best interest of our football team going forward," said Dominik. "And that's why we made the trade. LeGarrette's going into the final year of his contract. We've had LeGarrette here for a couple different [coaching] staffs. LeGarrette's been a good player for us but this is what we felt was best for the organization."
The Bucs have added former Bengal Brian Leonard and potentially Jeff Demps during the 2013 offseason. They also have two remaining draft picks to utilize on Saturday, but Dominik says the construction of RB depth behind Martin can continue even after the draft ends on Saturday evening.
"We still have time left," he said. "Just because the draft ends doesn't mean we're done with running back. It can still be addressed. Obviously we have time before we line up for that first snap out there on the grass for training camp."