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If LeGarrette Blount doesn’t sign soon, Patriots may move on

The New England Patriots may reportedly close the door on LeGarrette Blount returning to the team next season.

Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount gave New England an 18-touchdown season last year, and his reward may be a take-it-or-leave-it contract offer this year.

With Blount still unsigned in free agency, Mike Reiss of ESPN reports that if Blount doesn’t sign the contract the Patriots have offered him soon, the team may close the door entirely on the possibility of him coming back.

That move would be consistent with the way the Patriots usually do business: They decide how much a player is worth, and they’re not willing to pay him a nickel more. And if he hesitates to agree to the deal they want, they move on.

In a sense, the Patriots already have moved on by signing Rex Burkhead and re-signing Brandon Bolden to add to a backfield that also has James White and Dion Lewis. The Patriots have also been linked at times to everyone from Adrian Peterson to Mike Gillislee to Damien Williams to Marshawn Lynch. That doesn’t preclude Blount from returning to New England, but it does show that the Patriots are ready to head into 2017 without him.

Blount’s yards per carry average has declined in each of his four seasons in New England, from 5.0 in 2013 to 4.7 in 2014 to 4.3 in 2015 to 3.9 in 2016. Despite all his goal-line production last year, the Patriots may think Blount has lost a step and see no reason to give him a pay raise.