Should Eagles Keep Brian Westbrook for 2010?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Is it worth keeping Westbrook around next season?

While talking to a TV station in Tennessee, Brian Westbrook refuted the reports by Howard Eskin that he has decided to retire due to concussions and ankle and knee injuries. He says that he simply didn't wait long enough before coming back onto the field, causing his second concussion.

"What happened to me was that I was not completely healed from the first concussion," he said. "Even though I waited that long amount of time and passed all the tests I still wasn't completely healed...and it came back just like that. After that I had to sit out another five or six weeks just for me to be completely sure that I was 100 percent OK."

So, from what we can gather from that quote, he's saying that he's 100 percent healed from the concussions. And while he'll never be 100 percent healed from the ankle and knee injuries, he refutes any claims that the chronic pain will stop him from continuing his career.

Right now, I'm sure Westbrook is a hot topic of discussion within the Eagles' organization. He's been so good for so long that cutting him seems like an awful thing to do, but his $7.5 million salary is far too high for the production he can give them anymore.

So what do they do with him?

If it were me, the first thing I would do is attempt to convince him to take a pay cut. We'll see how much he really wants to stay an Eagle by asking him to take a much lower base salary, but high in incentives. Incentives like playing 50 percent of the snaps, playing in at least 12 games, rushing for 800 yards, receiving for 400, and 8 total touchdowns.

Some are certainly attainable, and others are not. It may be a juicy enough worm for him to take (if he's still really confident in his abilities) because it keeps him in Philly and out of a very questionable running back free agent market that has seen little to no action over the past few seasons.

Running backs 30 and over just aren't collecting the big money, or starting opportunities. A guaranteed spot here in Philly might be tempting enough to convince him to take whatever the Eagles are offering.

He will not, however, be this team's starter in 2010. I said before last season that LeSean McCoy would be more productive than Westbrook. He was, by a long shot, and has earned a chance to be this team's starter.

Westbrook would then become the third down back, a situation he's most suited for. It would take advantage of his blocking and receiving abilities -- abilities that McCoy hasn't quite acquired at this point in his career.

If the load is not on his shoulders, it's possible that he could still contribute to this team. He is still a talented player, and teams would still fear him on the field, regardless of whether or not he's the same player as he was even a few years ago or not.

He could still run away from a linebacker, or even a safety, so he's worth keeping around -- but only if the price is right. There is no way the Birds can pay him the $7.5 million. If he won't take the pay cut, then it's time that he goes. If he will, then he's certainly worth keeping around.

Maybe it's just the loyalty of seeing him in Eagle green for eight years, but something tells me Westbrook still has something left, and it would be a shame to miss out on it and see him do it in another jersey.

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