Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount takes $1 million pay cut

Brian McIntyre

On the third day of the 2013 NFL draft, the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers swapped unwanted running backs, with the Patriots shipping Olympic silver medalist Jeff Demps to the Bucs in exchange for LeGarrette Blount, a former 1,000-yard rusher who had lost his starting job to 2012 first-round pick Doug Martin.

When the deal was struck, the Patriots were taking on a larger financial commitment. Demps, who signed with New England as an undrafted free agent last August, is scheduled to earn the league minimum ($405,000), while Blount had signed a one-year extension with the Buccaneers in early March that had a total value of $1.75 million.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Blount has agreed to a restructured contract that has reduced his base salary and cap hit by $1.07 million for the 2013 season.

Blount, who was eligible for restricted free agency this offseason, signed a one-year extension with the Buccaneers on on March 7 that called for a $150,000 workout bonus, a $350,000 bonus for reporting to training camp and a $1.25 million non-guaranteed base salary to give him a $1.75 million cap figure for the 2013 season. The Patriots acquired that deal, but have made some major modifications.

For starters, Blount's $150,000 workout bonus has been reduced to $50,000 and his $350,000 reporting bonus has been eliminated. In addition to that $450,000 in savings, Blount's base salary has been reduced by nearly 50 percent, going from $1.25 million to $630,000, none of which is guaranteed.

Blount's 2013 cap hit has gone from $1.75 million to $680,000, which is fourth behind Leon Washington ($1.5 million), Shane Vereen ($950,250) and Stevan Ridley ($805,500) among the Patriots running backs. Blount's renegotiated deal also included a "split" salary that would reduce Blount's pay rate (to $383,000) if he were placed on a reserve list.

The 6-foot, 245-pound Blount ran for 1,788 yards with 11 touchdowns over his first two seasons in the NFL, but was reduced to a minimal role in the Buccaneers' offense last season. According to official NFL playing-time documents, Blount logged just 92 offensive snaps in 2012, carrying the ball 41 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns as Doug Martin ran for over 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns in his rookie season.

Blount is expected to increase the competition in the Patriots' backfield this offseason as he and Brandon Bolden jockey for a job behind projected starter Ridley, who sustained a concussion in the Patriots' loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 AFC championship game.