The New England Patriots have extended a contract offer to free-agent running back LeGarrette Blount using a rare device.

The Patriots issued a May 9 tender on Blount, a tender that would ensure New England a compensatory draft pick if the rusher signs with another team before July 22. If Blount doesn’t find a new home before that date, the Patriots would hold exclusive negotiating rights with him until Week 10 of the regular season, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

It is a tender option that has only been offered a handful of times, a source explained to Florio.

The tender amounts to a $1.1-million base salary with an additional $1 million in bonuses available, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports.

Blount has no immediate plans to sign the tender, Howe added.

The Patriots have made a concerted effort to bolster their running-back corps this offseason, adding Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee to in-house rushers Dion Lewis, James White, and Brandon Bolden.

If they let Blount walk, with the use of the tender, they hope to ensure some sort of compensation for the 2016 league leader in rushing touchdowns.

Blount recorded 1,161 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns last season, but has watched as fellow free agents Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles – rushers injured in 2016 – have signed on to play in 2017 before he has.

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