Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why LaDainian Tomlinson will not be an Eagle

It all seems to fit perfectly, doesn't it? The Eagles have announced that they will release Brian Westbrook, meaning they will likely want to bring in a veteran running back to backup LeSean McCoy. Hmm, veteran LaDainian Tomlinson was released by the Chargers yesterday. Putting two and two together, the Eagles want to replace Westbrook with Tomlinson, right?

Wrong. While I'm sure there will be rumors flying around for the next few weeks that the Birds will pursue L.T., don't count on him putting on an Eagles uniform next season for two reasons: age and money.

Age: While Tomlinson is a very different running back than Westbrook, what sense would it make for the Eagles to replace their recently released 30+ year old running back on his last legs with another 30+ running back on his last legs? There are entire books written about running backs and how they fall off once they get over 30 and have thousands of carries under their belt. If the Eagles wanted to take a risk on an old RB, wouldn't they just try to sign Westbrook back first? It's just not in the Eagles style to sign someone who is past their prime in the NFL.

Money: While L.T. wasn't nearly as effective last year as he had been throughout his career, given that he had 12 touchdowns last year, there is no doubt that he could still be a solid goal line back. The salary he is going to look for next year, while significantly lower than what the 7 million the Eagles owed Westbrook for 2010, is way too much for someone who would only get the ball in very specialized situations. While the Eagles struggled (like always) at the goal line and in short yardage situations last year, even they aren't going to spend millions of dollars on a specialist.

Barring the market for him dropping so far that he is willing to sign for 1-2 million dollars, L.T. won't be signing with the Eagles. Look for the Birds to first re-sign Leonard Weaver, who acted as a backup RB last season anyway, and then pursue a cheap veteran as an emergency option. It just doesn't make any sense that the Eagles would get rid of a franchise-favorite RB like Westbrook due to his age and productivity and replace him with the equally old and unproductive Tomlinson.

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