LeGarrette Blount, Patriots share mutual interest

Now that Adrian Peterson's visit to New England has come and gone without a contract, it's fair to wonder about the Patriots' plans for a power back.

Was this simply an exploratory meet-and-greet session? Were the two sides unable to find common ground on salary and expected role? Was the stopover merely a favor for Peterson's agent, as CSN New England's Tom Curran posited?

Perhaps Peterson's visit was even a not-so-subtle prod to lower LeGarrette Blount's asking price before this month's draft.

After languishing on the open market for a month last offseason, Blount ended up settling for a one-year, $1 million contract with the Patriots in mid-April.

Might history repeat itself in the next couple of weeks?

"I know LeGarrette Blount would like to return to the Patriots," NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday's edition of Up to the Minute Live. "I know the Patriotswould like him back."

At this point, however, Blount's salary expectations aren't in line with New England's.

"Maybe this spurs things along," Rapoport continued, "or maybe he's able to get a visit somewhere that will let the Patriots know that he has other suitors."

In a post-Super Bowl LI appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, Blount made it clear that a return to New England was the top priority in free agency.

"I love being here," Blount said in mid-February, "and they know I love being here. ... I feel great. I'm 30 years old, not a lot of wear and tear on my body. I feel like I'll be able to play for as long as I want."

After leading the league with 18 touchdowns last season, Blount can hardly be blamed for expecting a significant raise. As a committee back used to salt away big leads, though, he often finds himself on the bench when Tom Brady is in comeback mode.

It hasn't gone unnoticed around the league that an ineffectual Blount has averaged 35.5 yards with a lost fumble in Super Bowl action. Passing-down specialists Shane Vereen and James White, on the other hand, have combined for 216 yards and three touchdowns on 35 touches in a pair of Super Bowl victories.

Four weeks into free agency, Blount has been met with the same cold shoulder as Peterson, another one-dimensional power back.

Which one will be joining White, Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead in New England's backfield next season?

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