Posted by Will Brinson
Brian Westbrook's been quite cautious with his free agency this offseason, which is rather rare for an aging running back with concussion issues. Theoretically, he'd like to jump on the first team that could offer him a good contract and some playing time, before the rest of the 2002 Pro Bowlers (Larry Johnson, Willie Parker) filled those spots.
Turns out, his patience was a smart move: yesterday, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan mentioned Washington's renewed interest in the back , and now it appears that the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers would also be interested in inking the former Eagle.
That's via Chris Russell of the Reskins Radio Network , who says he talked to Westbrook's brother Byron at Redskins practice on Monday.
According to Byron, his brother has "some new possible opportunity's [sic] in SF and Buff as well as" St. Louis.
Buffalo and San Francisco adding themselves to the mix makes perfect sense: Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch could both miss extended time into the season , while San Fran just lost Glen Coffee to a very early retirement .
And of course, St. Louis would love to have Westbrook in order to compliment Steven Jackson.
So, now that it's clear that his patience has paid off, what should Westbrook do. Personally, I think the Niners provide the best possible fit for Westbrook.
They're a contending team (in a particularly weak division) with less personnel in the backfield -- Frank Gore and new-found bruiser Anthony Dixon are the only competition for carries out by the bay.
In Washington, Westbrook's talents would certainly be utilized and he would get to play with his old buddy Donovan McNabb, but as mentioned, their depth chart is pretty full with LJ, Parker, Clinton Portis, et al. That's not to say Westbrook couldn't be better than those guys or that those guys couldn't be cut, but the path to touches is much more difficult there.
St. Louis would provide touches and good money, but the odds of winning a Super Bowl there this year are roughly 200:1 (at least according to Sportsbook ... and that's being generous, really). The same thing applies for Buffalo, with the caveat that when Jackson and Lynch return, Westbrook could see his carries drop again.
Like every decision for veterans, it may come down to how much Westbrook values winning versus playing time versus money. San Francisco just seems to offer the best combination of the three.
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