Would You Bring LaDainian Tomlinson To The Philadelphia Eagles?

WesAnalyst IFebruary 23, 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

There are concerns about injuries and a steady decline in performance over the last two seasons, but if the price is right, do you want one of the league's best running backs on your team?

No, this is not about retaining Brian Westbrook. This is all about bringing in LaDainian Tomlinson.

Instead of shaking your head and complaining about replacing one depleting running back with another, you need to think about what Tomlinson brings to the Eagles and how it is an improvement over Westbrook.

The once great Eagles running back, who will turn 31 at the beginning of the season would be owed $7.25 million.

Tomlinson, who is considered one of the greatest running backs of all time and who will also turn 31 next season will most likely seek a deal that would be less than Westbrook's.

No one can deny that Westbrook has to go. He is battling concussions along with ankle and knee injuries and his track record shows he has never played in all 16 games during his eight-year NFL career.

Meanwhile L.T. may have a little bit left in the tank. And his track record shows he has only missed three regular season games during his nine-year career. But for some reason everyone wants to go in full panic mode because L.T. missed two games last year and failed to crack 1,000 all-purpose yards for the first time in his career.

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But does that matter if he comes to an Eagles team that has some depth at the running back position?

With LeSean McCoy adding speed to the running game and Leonard Weaver adding brute strength, can the great offensive-minded Andy Reid find a way to use L.T.?

L.T. has proven to be one of the games great finishers in the red zone and short yardage situations. Both of those are glaring weaknesses of the Eagles. That has to be one way to utilize him.

Tomlinson has also shown a tremendous ability to catch passes out of the backfield, which fits well with an Eagles team that is considered one of the best screen teams on football.

So why can't it work if the price is right?

If you were willing to bring Westbrook back, why not bring back L.T., who may carry a cheaper price tag?

Forget about the age. It is a number that fantasy dorks love to talk about and now it has suddenly crept into the minds of real analysts.

The fantasy prognosticators will cram examples of Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander, and Jamal Lewis down your throat. They also wanted you to believe that Matt Forte was going to be a stud this year, but that’s not the point.

The point is that L.T. ain't on the same level as Holmes, Alexander and Lewis. He's in a stratosphere that those players can only dream of.

Tomlinson is on plane with players like Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, and Jim Brown.

Compare him to the greats, because that's where he belongs. What happened to those backs when they reached the crippling age of 31?

Smith rushed for 1,203 yards and wasn't exactly tip-toeing around the line of scrimmage.

Payton carried the ball over 300 times when he was 31 and it resulted in 1,551 yards.

It’s a shame Brown walked away from the game at 29, because we all know he would have produced a couple more 1,300-yard seasons once he hit the mythical 30-plus wall.

Now I'm not expecting L.T. to rack up over 1,000 on the ground, but the point is that a back doesn't always have to fall of the face of earth when they reach 30.

Tomlinson can still play in this league and he can play well if he is not expected to be a feature back.

So, why not? Why not try to get one of the greatest running backs of all time at the right price and use him effectively in your offensive scheme?

"The main thing for me now is to try to win a championship," Tomlinson told SI. com "That's my No. 1 goal. That's why I still work hard and train like I do, because I still believe there's a chance of winning that championship. So the next team I go to has to have a chance of winning a title. I can think of a few teams off the top of my head, but that's what my agent is for. I'm sure he's going to do some research, talk to some teams and present some options to me."

I’m sure in Tomlinson’s mind the Eagles have to be one of those teams. So wouldn’t you pick up the phone and see if you can land L.T. in Philly?

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