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The New England Patriots just made an incredibly rare free agency move

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LeGarrette Blount rushed for 1,161 yards with 18 touchdowns last season.

Therefore, it’s fitting that the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are seemingly willing to move on from a player that was their most deadly goal-line option.

It’s safe to say that not many other teams in the NFL would be willing or able to do that.

But, with Dion Lewis and James White returning and the free agent signings of Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee, Blount seems like the odd one out at this point, as he’s currently a free agent in search of an opportunity to show that his success in 2016 wasn't a one-time wonder.

But, the Patriots found a rare loophole that will give the franchise a significant advantage when it comes to Blount's situation.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported that the Patriots extended a rare “May 9” tender offer to Blount that amounts to 110 percent of Blount’s 2016 salary ($1.1 million).

But, most importantly, it grants New England exclusive negotiating rights with the running back if he doesn’t find a new team before July 22. After that day, Blount can only re-sign with the Patriots until November 10, after Week 10 of the regular season.

Also importantly, the Pats will receive a 2018 compensatory pick if Blount signs with a new team before the July 22 deadline.

In other words, it’s another win-win scenario for the Patriots and a less-than-optimal scenario for their former productive player. We've seen that story happen a few times before, but in New England, it's all about a team-first philosophy and mentality at all times.

Florio noted that the May 9 tender doesn’t happen very often. “It’s a rarely-used device, as one source explained it to PFT. Over the years since the free agency system was put in place, similar offers have been made only a handful of times.”

Ironically, Blount was named to the NFL Network’s annual “NFL Top 100” list at No. 80. As a result, he tweeted out his thanks and included a “#NotDoneYet” hashtag, reminding everyone that he’s still in search for an opportunity in 2017.

You have to think that some team will roll the dice on him. While he's one-dimensional and would best be served as a goal-line specialist, the 30-year-old still probably has a lot to offer.

In recent days, Blount has been linked to the Lions, Giants and Ravens. With the recent development, it will be interesting to see if Blount receives legitimate interest from around the league or if he will end up in New England - or even jobless.

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Tom Brady
Rob Gronkowski
New England Patriots

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