LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook Arent the Only Ones in Trouble

Greg RiotAnalyst IFebruary 26, 2010

LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook’s release from their respective teams may have come as a shock to some, but for those that have watched the aging running backs during the 2009 NFL sports betting season, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Westbrook and Tomlinson may be looking for a new home right now , but who else is in danger of being released?

Thomas Jones – New York Jets

The main issues with Jones are completely circumstantial. The Jets betting faithful may want to blame Jones for losing against the Colts, but considering that he ranked third in the league with 1,402 yards on the ground, I encourage you to hold your tongue. Jones still has plenty to offer, so why would the Jets be leery of keeping him on board?

Jones’ numbers were as good as any year, and unlike Tomlinson and Westbrook, his stats were steady with the rest of his 10-year career. What is plaguing Jones is a $3 million roster bonus coming March 1st, and a $3 million salary for the 2010 football betting season on tap as part of the final year of his contract, so the Jets are thinking twice.

They already have his heir apparent on board in Shonn Greene, and utility specialist Leon Washington would be a more attractive value for a multi-million dollar contract. Financially, Jones should be released and there are tons of teams ready to snatch him up if he does.

Best Case Scenario – New England Patriots (+1000 To Win SB XLIV)

Marion Barber – Dallas Cowboys

Barber’s numbers were consistent with the others in his five-year career, but they were far from sensational. With just 932 yards rushing and seven touchdowns, Barber seemed to lose a step. Still, he’s just 26 years old and Jerry Jones has big plans for keeping him on board. As much as the pundits criticized Barber, he’s still the best premier option the Cowboys have.

While I’m impressed by Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, I’m not in the least bit amazed by them. A three-headed attack worked for the Saints. Why can’t it work for Dallas? Dallas is 12-1 odds to win Super Bowl XLV and Jerry Jones won’t be so quick to mix up his roster, at least at running-back.

Best Case Scenario – Dallas Cowboys (+1200 To Win SB XLIV)

Willis McGahee – Baltimore Ravens

Just because he’s 28 years old, that doesn’t mean McGahee is a spring chicken. He’s had major injury problems throughout his professional and college careers. He posted his worst numbers in 2009 with 544 yards, though he scored 12 touchdowns. The Ravens seem committed to keeping him on board in spite of a $3.6 million salary, but that is a lot of money to pay for a goal-line back, especially with Ray Rice blowing up in his own right. Doesn’t it seem like Le’Ron McClain could handle the goal-line duties?

The interesting part about McGahee is that his running style is anything but power centric. He is as strong as a rhino with pads on, but his quickness has gone the way of the dinosaurs. If the Ravens let him go, there’s one team out there that would make very quick use of his services…

Best Case Scenario – Indianapolis Colts (+750 To Win SB XLIV)

Marshawn Lynch – Buffalo Bills

If there’s ever a back that needs a scenery change, it’s Lynch. The Bills have some major thinking to do when it comes to Lynch’s off-field troubles. The three-year back will again enter a summer of legal troubles and considering he managed just 450 yards and two touchdowns, I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised to see Lynch packing up his things in Buffalo. What will catch me off guard is if the strong, shifty runner stays unemployed for long. The San Diego Chargers have already emerged as a front-runner for acquiring Lynch, and the Bills would take anything they can get for the maligned tailback in a heartbeat.

Best Case Scenario – San Diego Chargers (+900 To Win SB XLIV)

Larry Johnson – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals were nice enough to hand Larry Johnson a helping hand last year, but this summer they won’t be so quick to add him to their team. Cincinnati’s happy with Cedric Benson and LJ’s best days are behind him. Still, there are others out there who need a running back and Johnson has the name value to trick some general managers in to believing he’s still the same guy he was in 2005 and 2006.

Rumors have already emerged that Johnson could be headed to the Chicago Bears, who need someone as an insurance policy for the underachieving Matt Forte. However, Larry Johnson’s biggest pay check is going to come from Detroit where the Lions will try to surround Kevin Smith with veteran talent that can push him to his potential. For LJ, it’s going to be all about the Benjamins.

Best Case Scenario – Detroit Lions (+15000 To Win SB XLIV)

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