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.