LaDainian Tomlinson will be up for hire come March 5 when the new league year begins, and we have to wonder what type of market there will be for a running back in his thirties with pretty worn tire treads.
The NFP’s Michael Lombardi did an excellent job of breaking down what LT can offer at this stage of his career in his Diner Morning News, and it is hard not to agree with what Mike said.
This is a running back that should and will be viewed as an “extra,” someone who can come into the ballgame and spell a feature back. Sure, he could be used when teams go to their offensive sub packages and bring in their three wide receiver personnel — and he could be effective in that role.
But, that goes back to our original point, and in my opinion, LT is now going to have to play a waiting game.
To honestly believe that this is the type of running back that will demand the same attention on the free agent market as a player like the Vikings’ Chester Taylor — a back with low mileage and explosion left in his legs — isn’t realistic. Instead, Tomlinson may be in the same predicament as we saw with Edgerrin James last season.
An aging running back with a decorated past who is on his last legs. Does it take a training camp injury to get him a job? Or does it take a team that needs players, something that LT did not hint at when he talked with the media yesterday.
LT publicly said that he wants a Super Bowl ring, but we all know that means going to a club and sitting for most of the game behind the running back that is making the big money and moving the chains.
It is a tough situation, but it is a situation that we are used to seeing. This shouldn’t surprise anyone nor should it make us wonder why the Chargers released LT in the first place.
Those legs go fast at the running back position in the NFL, and the hits add up. LT will find a new home and for what he has done in the league, you hope that it is a good situation with a club who can make a deep playoff run.
But, it may take a while before LT finds that franchise.
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Check out the NFP's 2010 Draft Central for in-depth coverage leading up to the draft.