Even with Brian Westbrook and LaDainian Tomlinson in the same unemployment line as Thomas Jones will find himself in on Friday, don’t look for Jones to struggle to find a new home. Both of those backs have dealt with injuries, while Jones is a model of good health.
He keeps himself in tip-top shape. I know he’ll turn 32 before the season kicks off, but he’s got a couple of good years left in him. After all, people have been calling for his demise for years now. Look what he’s done in his two seasons since crossing the 30-year-old barrier.
2008: 290 carries for 1312 yards, 13 TDs, 4.5 ypc
2009: 331 carries for 1402 yards, 14 TDs, 4.2 ypc
He has five consecutive seasons with more than 1100 yards, and is just 783 yards from becoming one of the most unheralded 10,000 yard runners in NFL history.
While LT and Westy will likely be looking for backup jobs, possibly in Minnesota and Chicago, Jones can still be a feature back in this league. Here’s a look at some teams that would be crazy not to entertain the thought of adding Jones.
1.) Cleveland Browns : Yeah, Jerome Harrison went nuts to finish the season, but don’t forget that he was facing the Chiefs (31st vs. run), Raiders (29th), and Jaguars (19th). He’s more of a change-of-pace back in my opinion.
2.) Detroit Lions: Who knows when Kevin Smith will return, and if he’ll ever be the same. You want Matthew Stafford to progress in this league? Give him a solid running game to lean on. Plus, Detroit could use Jones’ professionalism.
3.) Houston Texans: Their passing attack is crazy good. Wouldn’t it be nice to offset that with a good ground game? Steve Slaton and the roulette running back attack they employed last year won’t cut it.
4.) New England Patriots: What’s not to love about this location? He would clearly be their top option. The Pats aren’t concerned with age if you can still get it done. Plus, he'll get a chance to stick it to the team that pushed him aside.
5.) San Diego Chargers: They are a championship caliber team without a running back. Sure, they could bring Sproles back, but he’s better as a third down back and returner. Jones can step in for LT, and they wouldn’t miss a beat.
6.) Seattle Seahawks: This one would be a little tricky because of his brother Julius. Clearly he’d be an upgrade over his little bro and Justin Forsett.
7.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: With teams like Houston, New England, and San Diego as possible locations, I’m not sure why he’d slum with the Bucs. Still, he’d be an upgrade and it would be a return to where he got his NFL career in order.
Originally published at LestersLegends.com .