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LT? Maybe you've got the wrong Charger

Posted by Albert Breer  February 23, 2010 04:04 PM

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I've gotten some email on the possibility here that LaDainian Tomlinson could become a Patriot. And I know I'm not the first guy to shoot it down in this manner, but it's pretty simple, so I'll put it out there too:

The Patriots are old enough already at tailback. On opening day, Fred Taylor and Kevin Faulk (provided he returns) will be 34, and Sammy Morris will be 33.

Now, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald had an interesting blog post on this very topic yesterday, and made a great point: It's not age as much as it miles. He's right, too. The reason, for example, Marcus Allen produced in his mid-30s with the Chiefs was in large part because he averaged less than 8 carries a game in his last four years with the Raiders.

And if you take that into account, Tomlinson's got even more rings on his football tree than the Patriots' greybeards do. He has 3,410 career touches, a number that easily outdistances the figures posted to this point by Taylor (2,779), Faulk (1,257) and Morris (842).

But since we're here, it might be worth pointing to another Charger running back that could be worth a look. Word is that San Diego, with a slew of restricted free agents to deal with (Shawne Merriman, Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill, Malcom Floyd), might decline to tender Darren Sproles, making him unrestricted. The complication with Sproles is that the Chargers franchised him last year at $6.621 million, meaning that to tender him as an RFA, they have to offer him a one-year deal at 110 percent of that figure ($7.283 million).

So if the Chargers let Sproles loose too, keep an eye on him. I was told the Patriots and Kevin Faulk's people were talking contract a couple weeks ago, and it's obvious Faulk wants to return. But if there was a problem getting that done, or the Patriots wanted to get an heir apparent to Faulk ready, Sproles could be their man. Plus, where the kick-return game suffered a bit last year from the loss of Ellis Hobbs, Sproles might be able to fill in the blanks.

What do you guys think?
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