Brian Westbrook: Five Potential Suitors

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer IFebruary 23, 2010

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  Runningback Brian Westbrook #36 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks onto the field from the sideline near the end of the 4th quarter during the game against the San Diego Chargers on November 15, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Chargers won 31-23.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

This article was originally published here .

So much for waiting to see if Brian Westbrook would take a pay-cut and stick with the Philadelphia Eagles.

After months of speculation on his future playing career, with or without the Eagles, we at least finally know that Westbrook is no longer going to be playing in Philadelphia.

And despite letting go one of their most beloved players in team history, the Eagles brass, most notably head coach Andy Reid, had nothing but praise for the 30-year old running back.

"Brian is one of the greatest Eagles of all-time and he is an even a better person and leader," Reid said. "In my mind, there has not been a more versatile running back that the NFL has seen."

Unfortunately, the once versatile and elusive Westbrook hit a quick, hard low in 2009, playing in just eight games due to leg and head injuries, and scoring just two touchdowns.

Westbrook failed to reach at least 900 total yards since his rookie season, and appeared on the decline.

However, Westbrook has said that he is "100 percent" toward continuing his playing career, and aside from a re-occurring concussion, there arguably isn't much reason to think Westbrook doesn't still have the ability to continue being an effective back in the NFL.

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Whether or not he still has what it takes to be a feature back is a question all in it's own, but with several teams in need of a talented, versatile back, Westbrook is unlikely to go the route of guys like Shaun Alexander and Edgerrin James have in recent years.

In other words, Westbrook is a living, breathing, walking free agent, and he's on the open market.

So, is anyone interested?

Read on for the top five teams that could view Westbrook as their new starter, or at least see him in a solid role that could help their team:

Note: Westbrook has technically been released, but will "officially" be released by the team on March 5th.

Minnesota Vikings

Plain and simple, Westbrook knows Vikings head coach Brad Childress, he knows the offense, and it's likely Minnesota will be in the market for a new third down back.

Westbrook fits the bill completely. He's an exceptional third down back, excellent in catching passes out of the backfield, and works the screen better than anyone else in the league—well, at least he has.

Health is a concern, as is how much money Westbrook will demand, but a reunion with Childress and the Vikings' need for another running back makes this a perfect fit.

We originally plugged LaDainian Tomlinson in here as a slight possibility, but Westbrook's still elusive legs and receiving skills trump LT.

New England Patriots

If the Patriots are at all interested in bringing on LaDainian Tomlinson, they'd definitely be interested in seeing what Westbrook could do for them, as well.

They may be on the market for a bruiser to allow them to cut ties with Laurence Maroney, but they are also on the market for a third down back, as they probably are about done with the 34-year old Kevin Faulk.

They could be Westbrook's top suitors if they're for some reason willing to let him start, but even a split backfield would tempt the former Eagle to latch on.

He'd be the Patriots best receiving option they've had since Faulk was young and more nimble, so until the Patriots shoot it down, this is a very real possibility.

New Orleans Saints

If New Orleans wants to keep their offense up and running as an elite force, a lot of their success will hinge to the continued success of their ground game.

I'm still betting they'd lie LaDainian Tomlinson here, but Westbrook could come cheaper than Reggie Bush, and would still give them an agile and elusive receiver out of the backfield.

If the Saints keep Bush, however, they may not see Westbrook as the answer as their other back.

Whether or not the Saints retain restricted free agent Pierre Thomas will heavily weigh in on what they do at the running back position.

Atlanta Falcons

We saw last year what can happen when Michael Turner goes down, and if the Falcons keep over-feeding their workhorse, he's going to wind up just like Larry Johnson.

With Jerious Norwood slated for restricted free agency, the Falcons could be in the market for a third down back, and Westbrook is the type of guy who can complement Michael Turner, and give them a real threat in the passing game out of the backfield.

If Norwood is gone, this possibility strengthens.

Green Bay Packers

Westbrook destroyed Green Bay for years in the regular season and playoffs, and considering their need for an elite receiver out of the backfield, this wouldn't be a bad match.

Westbrook knows the offense, and contrary to popular belief, still has some legs under him. He's never carried the ball more than 300 times in a season, so he's a younger 30 than people give him credit for.

This could be a huge signing for Ted Thompson and co., although it's unrealistic to expect the Packers to take a big money chance on a guy with recent injury questions, especially if he demands a lot of cash.

If he can be had for cheap, the Packers may try to grab up Westbrook while they have the chance, especially if Minnesota goes after him.

Other Possible Suitors: 49ers, Redskins, Texans, Chargers

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