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Will Westbrook be a risk to potential suitors?

Concussions, age could be a factor on the open market. Matt Bowen

Print This February 23, 2010, 02:45 PM EST

Another day and another high-profile running back is gone. Yesterday it was LaDainian Tomlinson, and the speculation has already begun on where — and when — a team will be calling for the future Hall of Fame running back.

Today, or this afternoon, it is Brian Westbrook of the Eagles. But, just as the situation with LT, we aren’t that surprised, right?

We could see this coming, especially with the emergence of Shady McCoy, who was drafted for this exact reason — to take Westbrook’s spot in time. The concussions and the time on the sidelines just sped up this process. And, the Eagles have moved on.

A business move, but a move that nonetheless leaves a hole in the Eagles backfield for a No. 2 or for a back to share carries with McCoy. The Eagles could turn to the second day of the draft, or as the NFP’s Joe Fortenbaugh wrote today, look to a veteran — someone such as the Jets’ Thomas Jones if he were to hit the market.

There is time for that. We will get to see this all play out and the future of the Eagles — including Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb — start to unfold once March 5 rolls around.

But, for Westbrook, this could be a tough stretch of unemployment. It is one thing to extend an offer — usually back loaded with incentives — to an aging veteran back, someone who is without a doubt unique in his playing style such as Westbrook. However, it is completely different when we start to talk about injuries — specifically head injuries when it comes to Westbrook.

And teams may look at that as a major risk factor when it comes to signing the now former Eagles star.
How much do you invest in a player that may not last for another season? Can you justify paying a back — regardless of his past — when he could eat up a roster spot over a younger player that doesn’t have the same risk factors attached to his name?

I am sure that retirement will be an option for Westbrook, but that is not for any of us to judge just yet. If he wants to continue his career, it will be in similar fashion to LT. An injury or a desperate need by a franchise in a tough situation where it needs to sign a back who can play in specific situations and who can pass protect.

But, is there a team out there that fits that description? Not now, but after the draft, there could be someone who will look beyond those risks.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

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