New York Jets Sign LaDainian Tomlinson—But Are They Better Off?

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IMarch 15, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Running back LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the San Diego Chargers runs with the ball against the New York Jets during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

LaDainian Tomlinson , the eighth-leading rusher in NFL history with 12,490 yards, signed a two-year contract worth $5.1 million with an escalator to $5.6 million, ESPN reported first on Sunday. A league source told the Star Tribune the Vikings made a similar offer.”

Tomlinson decided to sign with New York because of the familiarity and the larger role he would have in the Jets offense. The Jets offense is run by former Chargers assistant Brian Schottenheimer . Thomas Jones is a year older than LT but has 600 fewer carries and is coming off a 1,400-yard season.

Even though he is a Hall of Fame back his carries and rushing yards have declined each season since 06-07. His production has tailed off due to injuries and the Chargers shifting into a pass-first offense.

LT is coming off a year where he set career lows in carries (223), yards (730), yards per carry (3.3), receptions (20), receiving yards (154) and it was the second time since his rookie season he failed to record a receiving touchdown. Jones did not want to take a paycut and the Jets did not want to pay him the roster bonus he was due. Jones would have made $5.8 million this season with the Jets.

If Leon Washington does not recover from his injury then LT will be the primary third down back. He also can leave the team because he is a restricted free agent.Tomlinson had 12 touchdowns last season, 11 of them came from 10 yards or less. Half of them were from the one yard line which shows he can still be an effective goal line back.

Shonn Greene is expected to carry a heavy workload going into his second season. Greene rushed for 304 yards in three postseason games and should learn a lot from the former Charger.

Even though the Jets may be paying less for LT the combo of Jones-Greene has been very effective. Behind a top offensive line and run first mentality the Jets led the NFL with 172.2 rushing yards per game. Lets hope we are getting a steal and not a “washed up” running back.