The Baltimore Ravens turned back the clock this year by investing heavily on defense in free agency and in the draft. How can the Ravens continue their old-school offseason?
Sign running back LeGarrette Blount.
He's the hard-hitting, battering-ram big back who can return the punch to Baltimore's running game. Blount led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns last season, and he gained more rushing yards (1,161) than any back to hit free agency this season.
The Ravens are a franchise built on defense and running the ball. Blount's bruising running style is how Baltimore loves to play. He is a Ravens-type player, even though he's played with two of the team's biggest rivals (Patriots and Steelers).
Where Blount lands should be determined soon. He is an unrestricted free agent, which means he would count against a team's compensatory pick formula if signed before May 9. So, teams who are conscious about their number of comp picks -- which includes the Ravens -- can strike a deal with Blount starting on Tuesday without any repercussions.
The Giants might not be as interested anymore after drafting Clemson running back Wayne Gallman in the fourth round and naming Paul Perkins their starter. The Lions just declared Ameer Abdullah, a 2015 second-round pick, the starter after they didn't draft a running back.
There's more opportunity for Blount in Baltimore, where running back is an underrated need. While there has been more focus on wide receiver and the offensive line, the Ravens have arguably the worst running back group in the AFC North.
Terrance West is a career 3.9-yards-per-carry runner. Kenneth Dixon is suspended for the first four games of the season. Danny Woodhead is going to be a weapon out of the backfield, but he won't make a consistent impact in the ground game.
This is why the Ravens set a franchise record last season for the fewest rushing attempts in a season (367). In fact, they have set team marks for fewest rushing attempts in each of the last two seasons, which is unlike the Ravens and coach John Harbaugh.
In Harbaugh's first five years -- all of which were playoff seasons -- only one team (the New York Jets) ran the ball more than Baltimore. The Ravens gained over 100 yards in 70 percent of their games from 2008 to 2012, but they have eclipsed that mark only 41 percent of the time from 2013 to 2016.
Blount isn't Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell or David Johnson. He's 30 years old, often considered ancient for an NFL running back. He averaged only 3.9 yards per carry last season. And he wasn't retained by the Super Bowl champion Patriots, who instead signed restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.
There is also that incident in 2014, when Blount accused Terrell Suggs of being a dirty player after the linebacker dove at his legs toward the end of a run play. Suggs, who was fined $8,268 for that controversial tackle, responded that his reputation speaks for itself.
But Blount would represent an upgrade at running back and a renewed commitment to the ground game. He's a rugged runner who can break tackles, crash into the end zone and protect the ball.
This offseason, it's been all about defense, defense, defense. The best way to complement that is to add a 6-foot, 250-pound back who brings the same amount of toughness on offense.