Westbrook to Packers?

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Read here from jsonline.com. Thanks to Travis and others for pointing this out. This is intriguing. I have always thought highly of Westbrook. He is a smart, instinctive player. In fact, one concern about drafting and then grooming some young RB is that the one element lots of young players lack in their first few years in the NFL seems to be instinct. Seems for RBs in particular, there is a lot of adjusting to playbooks and the speed of the NFL game. So adding a player who is already highly instinctive seems to me to be a good idea. Additionally, Westbrook has always been one of the best pass catching RBs in the NFL and his receiving ability could really help to diversify an already diverse offense – making defenses especially wary of assignments when he’s in the game. I agree with reader Travis who points out that if Grant remained the lead back and Westbrook had a secondary role, Westbrook would probably be extra useful because he’d be fresh.

The team should definitely explore this possibility. Obviously he has to check out medically. Even if he does check out, there is risk because if he sustains another concussion (why, by the way, are concussions always “sustained” – why can’t I just say if he “gets” another concussion?”), he might be done. We’d just need to draw up a contract that minimizes our risk. Also, I agree with those suggesting that any contract offer should be incentive laden with the only financial risk being that he ends up having a great year and we end up owing incentives.

In the end, my verdict is to go after Westbrook pretty aggressively. The main reason I would do this is because of his experience. He’s been part of lots of deep playoff runs, he’s flourished under pressure and he is a very well respected player. While some of our young guys are now not really “young guys” anymore, we could still use a respected veteran presence like Westbrook – especially on our young offense. I’ve watched the Patriots add veteran RBs who most people thought were washed up and they were able to help the team. Veterans can bring stuff young guys simply don’t yet have – even if they are somewhat physically limited. What’s especially appealing in this situation is that I’m not even convinced that Westbrook is washed up yet.

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8 Responses to “Westbrook to Packers?”

  1. 56coop Says:

    Well, well hi guys. Nice to see some action around here again. I’ll be surprised if TT makes a move for Westbrook but ya never know

  2. Travis Says:

    Well TT is not completely opposed to FA. He’s done that route in the past. He just doesn’t look into FA that much.

    If he finds someone that would help out the team and won’t cost a fortune, I think he starts to look into that player more and eventually be serious about adding that player. And Westbrook shouldn’t be too expensive considering he hasn’t even really got a sniff of interest by any teams when he got released close to 2 months ago. And the other reason TT might end up serious about Westbrook is because this is his type of guy, type of player.

    I don’t recall issues off the field with Westbrook and he is a leader who has a ton of NFL experience. Just being on the team will help the team especially rookies. I don’t know how much longer he’ll last, but if we get 2 years think of it this way:

    This year he has a secondary role, but he will still be hugely involved in our offense if he stays healthy. Him being fresh, I think he’s capable of moving the chains and even big games. Whether its running or catching, he can do both.. and do both very well! That leads to defensive coordinators with a ton of fits when they need to prepare for us. Like Andy pointed out, he has great instincts and he is still someone who can play in the NFL in a reduced role. Just the fact we have a superb back with receiving ability makes the offense much better.

    The other thing is, in next years draft (if we pick him up we should not draft a RB this year unless someone really slides and can’t pass up) we then could get a young back. Having Grant and Westbrook help this guy all year and teach him everything he needs to know, he might be ready to step in the following year and become our future back.

    I like the idea of getting Westbrook. I hope TT is looking into his injuries and getting a good idea how he is. If that works out, I hope they start crunching numbers on an incentive deal, so should this not work out we didn’t lose much.

  3. Travis Says:

    And after I posted I moved onto JSOnline and read their article mostly about Westbrook. There are some very good points to it.

    First, I agree that waiting after the draft might be the smartest move. Lets see how the draft plays out, because if someone slides or there is an opportunity at RB, we could take them. Should we already have Westbrook and then be in that position, we’d start feeling we don’t really need one and have to debate over still taking one because we think he’s really good type idea.

    The other point is him passing a physical. Can’t that be checked before he signs? If not put a clause saying contract is void if player does not pass physical upon arrival to team. I doubt that is illegal, and then we don’t lose anything should he not pass the physical. I wouldn’t be surprised if we added a 20k or 40k signing bonus and if we lost that, at least that is a very small risk and that is pocket change to those people.

  4. DaveK Says:

    Would he be an upgrade over Green? If healthy there is no doubt about that. He is just one of those natural guys out of the backfield that can feel out a seem and turn a dump pass into a 30 yard gain. All depends on his health.

    There is room on the roster for Westbrook even if they draft another RB. They are not going to keep 3 FB’s this year and his signing would mean Green would not be back. In camp you would then have to make a decision about Wynn/Lumpkin and their value as a 4th RB compared to a roster spot for another position.

    The contract is probably the difficult thing for TT. It would be my guess that TT is offering contract terms that offer considerable money for being on the active roster. He has done that with quite a few contracts and it would be especially important with a guy with Westbrook’s injury history. And, with Ahman Green available he might not be willing to do much more then that. Westbrook may very well rather retire then sign a contract like that and/or Westbrook thinks he eventually will get a better offer post draft or during the injury filled pre-season.

  5. Nick Says:

    Travis,

    All contracts in the NFL are contingent upon passin a physical.

    DAveK,

    My guess is the contract would be bigger than one may expect because we are in an uncapped year. TT would probably pay a bigger signing bonus/first year salary, and then go incentives every year afterwards to avoid salary cap issues. That being said, Westbrook wont be all that expensive due to his age and injury concerns.

    While I like the idea – he does have a lot of playoff experience – I like the idea of waiting until after the draft better. He is a risk – and although the Pats did grab a bunch of veteran RB’s over the years – none of them were very good/game changers (after living in Boston for four years – I can tell you the fans were not all that pumped with the strategy).

    Also – you wait until after the draft and you get a cheaper price. Desperation would set in with BW at that point and TT wont have to pay as much.

  6. RayMidge Says:

    If Westbrook is healthy this is a perfect fit, he is exactly the shifty, quick back that would perfectly compliment Grant and would fit in this offense for 10-15 toouches a game. In that sense I wouldn’t be surprised if TT makes the move, because although he hasn’t signed a ton of FA’s when he has signed them it was because they fit so well with a specific Pack need (Pickett interior line, Woodson at CB, Chillar as a coverage-type LB).

    My only concern with signing him would be that no matter how he does on a physical we know that the more a person suffers concussions the more likely they are to get concussed again. Westbrook seemed to have a few over a very short period of time last year which suggests to me he is particularly vulnerable to them and I would hate to have a guy get through camp, become a part of the O gameplan that the team relies upon, and then have it disappear the first time he gets hit in the head.

  7. TheChoj Says:

    Side note: NFL announced today that the schedule’s coming out Tuesday at 7pm ET (gonna have to get off work early all the way over here in Tucson)

    I’m gonna say we open on the road for a change and it’ll be against one of the AFC East teams….Jets maybe?

  8. nick Says:

    Fantastic point Ray. Concussions dont show up on physicals like a bad back or knee would. Big risk there.

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