Tavern talk: Bad idea trading a pass rusher

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said today that a team made a huge trade proposal for one of his players. My first thought, based on the limited information offered by Mr. Jones, was that it had to be defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who is looking for a big contract. Who else could it be? The Cowboys made a blockbuster deal last year, giving up their No. 1 pick to Detroit for wide receiver Roy Williams. And based on his 15-game Dallas career, in which he’s scored only two touchdowns and has 30 catches, the Cowboys got the short end of that deal.

So back to the ‘Boys -- what other player on their team could command a significant price? Jay Ratliff is one of the best nose tackles in football and a disruptive force. Felix Jones is a great big-play back, but the Cowboys need both him and Tashard Choice to be their lead runners. My money is on Ware since it makes good sense to keep him on the team despite the low production numbers. There can never be enough value in return for Ware to make the trade work out for the ‘Boys. Just ask the Chiefs about trading a defensive rusher. The Vikings paid dearly to acquire Jared Allen, but it was well worth it because they got the better of that deal. Trading pass rushers is never a good thing.

Lorenzo Neal sounds off…

“Yeah, LT has lost a step, but losing a step for LT is still as good as anybody in the league. Last night, he was focused, he was ready to run, and when you took that away from LT, you might’ve lost your leader. You might have lost a guy that has been a pillar in this community, a guy that has been a diehard Charger that will bleed and die for that team. When you send that kind of message to LT, I think you hurt your team."

I would disagree with Neal. LT has lost a great deal and his numbers back up this claim. Since 2006, here are the stats:

LaDainian Tomlinson rushing since 2006

2009 46.7 1
2008 69.4 11
2007 92.1 15
2006 113.4 28

This is a steady decline in production, in large part due to injuries but also because of age. This five-time Pro Bowler is now 30 years old, and for a running back, that’s really old. Anyone who’s objective about the way Tomlinson is running would admit that he’s no longer explosive, no longer breaking tackles and no longer able to make the first guy miss. LT’s decline, along with some other Chargers, has made them a very average team in terms of talent.

Think about this: The two best players on the Colts, Dwight Freeney and Peyton Manning, are having their best years. Meanwhile in San Diego, Tomlinson and Shawne Merriman are playing well below their once-perceived talent level. Is it no wonder the Chargers are struggling?

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