Brian Westbrook Signs With San Francisco 49ers: What Will His Impact Be?

Mihir BhagatSenior Analyst IIIAugust 16, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 27:  Brian Westbrook #36 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the Denver Broncos on December 27, 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Broncos 30-27.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

According to league sources, the San Francisco 49ers have reached an agreement with running back Brian Westbrook. Reportedly, Westbrook received a one-year contract worth up to $2.5 million, with $1.25 guaranteed.

Westbrook, 30, was released by the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this offseason due to injury concerns--most notably his concussion history, the most recent of which limited him to only eight games last year. Nonetheless, he did amass 455 yards from scrimmage along with a pair of touchdowns. 

The two-time Pro Bowler was once one of the most electrifying players in the league, and if he can stay healthy, he still can be.

Over the past few months, Westbrook has met with teams including the Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, and St. Louis Rams. None of those teams, however, were close to executing a deal.

Considering the question marks surrounding the 49ers' running back situation, they jumped on the opportunity to bring him in as an insurance policy. 

Last Friday, 2009 third-round draft choice Glen Coffee surprisingly announced his retirement, citing his loss of passion for the sport and his growing interest in religion. He is reportedly planning to return to school, and eventually earn his Master's degree.

Therefore, the team's backfield currently consists of Frank Gore, Michael Robinson, and 2010 sixth-round pick Anthony Dixon.

While Gore is one of the best in the business, he has some injury concerns of his own. And, since he's often the focal point of the Niners' game plan, their offense is in serious trouble when he's out of the lineup.

Fortunately, Dixon did ease some of their concerns by having a very solid outing yesterday. In the team's win over the Indianapolis Colts, The rookie, a bruising back whh is very effective between the tackles, rushed for an impressive 100 yards on 21 carries and scored a touchdown.

However, with only three options and Robinson's future with the team doubtful, they still had a pressing void for a veteran change of pace back who could compliment the others' downfield running style.

Westbrook, who led the league with 2,104 yards from scrimmage just three seasons ago, should be able to do so. 

In fact, the 49ers have learned from personal experience what type of damage Westbrook can do. The last time he met them, back in 2006, he absolutely shredded the defense for 164 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. 

In my mind, this is a great low risk-high reward move by the 49ers, and I wish both sides the best of luck moving forward with this season and beyond.