Feb 23, 2010
We knew that was coming, so now the question is, where will LaDainian Tomlinson end up? We know he wants to keep playing, so he’ll be in the league. So where do we start?
We start with the good teams because to LT it’s all about the ring.
That’s why I think he’d be willing to accept a complementary role on a good team, and what better player to work behind than Adrian Peterson? That’s right, I think LT in Minnesota would be great for both parties (that is, assuming the Vikes lose Chester Taylor).
If the Vikings do lose Taylor, they’ll need a #2 back. They’ll need a guy who can excel in short yardage (check), catch the ball well (check), pass protect (check) and carry the load for a few games if Peterson gets hurt (check). It would be great if that guy didn’t fumble (check). Especially if Brett Favre returns, why wouldn’t LT want to play for the Vikings? He’s all about the ring, and one could argue that if the Vikes had just dropped the ball 5 times and not 6 in the NFC Title game, they’d be the world champs.
Here are some other viable fits:
Philadelphia – I can see him here, but not really if Brian Westbrook is back, which he appears to be. We all know what Philly does on offense, so LT even if he was asked to carry the load for a stretch, wouldn’t be relied on much as a runner.
Green Bay – Backup Brandon Jackson has been a disappointment, and this is a really good team. With 1-2 additions on defense and some improvement on the OL, you could argue that the Packers should be one of the four favorites to win it all in 2010.
New England – LT hasn’t been a big fan of this organization, but those types of animosities tend to dissipate when you’re wearing the uniform. If Fred Taylor’s gone, they could certainly utilize Tomlinson in their committee.
Pittsburgh – If the Steelers lose Willie Parker, they’d still have a solid 3rd down back in Mewelde Moore, but grabbing LT at a low price would be hard for them to pass up, especially since Rashard Mendenhall isn’t exactly a pillar of perfection at his position.
Tennessee – If the team opts to let LenDale White go, this could make some sense. For a good 6-week stretch, the Titans were as dangerous a team as there was in the league, and they have one of the best OLs in the business. The team does need to pull back a little from their usage or Chris Johnson.
There’s no question Tomlinson’s game is falling off fast. In addition to having injury issues, he’s lost a lot of his explosiveness. The first thing that went was the long runs, and that was a couple of years ago. Now that short-area burst (that specifically made him great) is gone and his balance also appears to be nearly shot. It’s a shame he can’t transform into more grinder, a power guy, but that’s not really his game. But there were flashes last year when he looked like the old LT, and he was still pretty effective near the goal.
It’ll be questionable if LT’s worth having on a fantasy team this year, but I definitely think he can help one of these good teams, even push them over the top.