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One day after LaDainian Tomlinson received his walking papers in San Diego, the Philadelphia Eagles followed suit by releasing veteran running back Brian Westbrook on Wednesday.
The Eagles would owe Westbrook $7.5 million if he stayed on the roster in 2010 under his current deal. Besides his salary, the presence of LeSean McCoy along with Westbrook’s injury history made him a liability.
Over the past two seasons, Westbrook’s numbers dipped dramatically. After compiling over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 2007, his numbers bottomed out at 455 yards in 2009.
While some Eagles fans will surely miss the man who helped propel the Birds into Super Bowl XXXIX, the NFL runs by a very simple equation when dealing with running backs:
30 years old + high salary + younger back to carry load = veteran player’s release.
It is not E=mc² but it happens too often in the NFL to think otherwise.
There are two questions that fly out this development. First, what becomes of Brian Westbrook? Would he be agreeable to being a backup at smaller salary? Perhaps but his concussion history (two last season) and other assorted ailments over the years (notably creaky knees) make him a shaky proposition for any team.
Secondly, where does Philly go from here? Tomlinson? Chester Taylor?
Regardless of who throws the football for the Eagles next season, they need a veteran back. Going the draft route again is dangerous for one reason in particular. The NFL is a passing league and the backs must able to handle blitz and thus, not get their veteran quarterback killed. It takes rookies a little while to master such a concept.
Having a second year guy and rookie as your primary choices in the backfield is bad for business. Look for the Eagles to be in the market for a vet. I’m guessing they pass on Tomlinson and opt for someone with a bit more gas left in the tank.
As for Mr. Westbrook, thanks for the memories. The Villanova Wildcat was a multi-purpose threat that served as a key cog for their Eagles during their playoff runs from during the early to mid 2000s. He will be remembered as one of the greatest Eagles of all-time.
Categories: Philadelphia Eagles