‘Tis the season to go picking through other peoples’ trash. Coming off a down year, with limited draft picks and even less desire to spend money, the Bears ain’t too proud to beg. Guys like Ladanian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook were recently cut by their respective teams and pundits in every corner of the interwebs want to find a new home for these guys. My suggestion? The retirement home!
Don’t get me wrong – Tomlinson and Westbrook were among the best in the game and would be in the any decent all-decade team for the 2000’s, but I just don’t think they fit here with the Bears. I understand why people are quick to try to plug them into Chicago.
Matt Forte is coming off a disappointing sophomore season; a season in which he struggled behind a struggling offensive line and a new quarterback. To make matters worse, primary backup Kevin Jones suffered a season-ending knee injury during the preseason, former third round pick – yes THIRD ROUND PICK – Garrett Wolfe has never lived up to his lofty draft status and Adrian Peterson – no, our AP – brings occasional burst but not consistent #2 RB kind of stuff. Only when free-agent rookie Kahlil Bell came on the scene was there any real depth for Forte.
The addition of new offensive coordinator Mike Martz to the mix and you can see why a pass catching threat like Westbrook might make sense. But he’s spent way too much time on the injured list in recent years to be a serious threat. Then you get LT’s worship of former Bears legend Walter Payton and you can connect a few dots to see how Tomlinson might be considered by the Bears.
LT is probably the last of the true workhorse backs; he’s logged a ton of mileage and he’s production has been in a steady decline. Could he give you some flashes of his former brilliance in a backup role? Sure. Is that going to help you develop your third year running back? Does Forte need to be looking over his shoulder at the legendary Tomlinson after every fumble or carry-for-loss? Nope.
My suggestion to the Bears? Go get a little lightening to compliment Forte’s thunder. Go find a guy to fill the role that Garrett Wolfe was supposed to fill. You know, like that Darren Sproles guy who unseated LT in San Diego.
As for Tomlinson and Westbrook, I wouldn’t even take them on my fantasy team.