Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who's Going Where?? (RBs)

LaDanian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook have both been released by their respective teams...two of the leagues best running backs, jobless...for now. Interestingly enough, both players are thirty years old and have been declining in production as of late. Nevertheless, I wouldn't rule either of these pro-bowl backs out of the game for good.

While Tomlinson's release was far from a shock (the Chargers have discussed parting ways before), Westbrook's was much more of a surprise. This move tells me that the Eagles are clearly looking for fresh new faces for their franchise (see LeSean McCoy). Speculation has certainly grown on whether or not Philly's frontman, Donovan McNabb, will return next year. After so many seasons falling short of the championship, and now with the release of Westbrook, one could argue that the Eagles are finally ready to look ahead towards a bright, and possibly "younger" future. Kevin Kolb will you please step forward...

But this segment is about who's going where...not where they've been...and we're talking Running Backs.

For these new free agents, my first thought runs to the Texans, who need a power running back to compliment their passing game. I liked Tomlinson as a fit in Houston, but ESPN's John Clayton reported a lack of interest there. Perhaps Westbrook will be a more viable fit.

The problem with predicting a spot for these two veteran running backs is that many of the teams are looking for young explosive talent in the backfield (see Ray Rice, Shonn Greene, Tim Hightower, maybe Rashard Mendenhall) and while 30 isn't even close to 'old' by universal standards, the NFL sees things differently, and is much harsher when judging 'veteran' talent. However, I see LT and Westbrook working well with a budding back, carrying a big part of the work load until the rookie is up to speed, and then serving in tandem or as a third down back (see Willis McGahee). And then there's always the notion of coming in for injured players during the season (see Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James), an idea which seems plausible for both of these players, especially with teams looking toward the draft more and more as we approach April.

Anyway, if you're still looking for teams (names) that might be interested in one of these guys, here's my short list:

For LT - Washington, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, Minnesota (surprised?), and maybe even the New York Jets.

For Westbrook - all of the above, add Houston and Detroit.

And I never rule out the Patriots for snatching up anyone on free agency, these two included. Don't even get me started on what these guys' fantasy outlooks will be like...lets see who they're playing with first...

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