When you remember that only two teams (the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets) were even remotely interested in his services last offseason, LaDainian Tomlinson certainly provided more than expected in 2010. The 31-year-old running back had a bit of a career renaissance with the Jets, rushing 219 times for 914 yards and six touchdowns. While those numbers won’t blow anyone’s shorts off, his average of 4.2 yards per carry was LT’s best since 2007. He also caught 52 passes for 368 yards.
So what’s next for the future Hall of Famer? Will the Jets bring him back for 2011?
Well, Tomlinson has a team-friendly $2.425 million contract for next season. From his own mouth: “I plan on honoring my contract so we’ll see what happens.” Unlike Jason Taylor, who is soon owed a ludicrous $10 million roster bonus, Tomlinson does not look like he’s headed for the scrap heap.
While we’re certain LT would like to be the go-to guy in the Jets’ backfield, he seems amenable to continuing to be part of a rotation with Shonn Greene. The question then becomes, is the 25-year-old Greene OK with sharing carries with Tomlinson?
Greene, who will make just $480,000 next season, finished the year with 185 carries for 766 yards and just two touchdowns. If he wants a bigger contract down the road, sharing carries with Tomlinson would seem to dim those prospects.
Tomlinson is clearly the more versatile of the two backs, as his receiving stats show. Greene caught just 16 passes out of the backfield this year.
It will be interesting to see what the Jets do here. Will they try to extend either player (Greene’s contract is up after the 2012 season) to gain some security, or move forward the way things currently stand?
Provided the NFL’s labor situation gets figured out, this could be a big story moving forward.