Top Story: Westbrook Released & More

Today’s top NFL story is the fate of Philadelphia Eagles grind it out scoring monster, RB Brian Westbrook.  The Eagles parted ways with the stud after an injury plagued 2009 made him expendable.

Westbrook, when healthy, was a dominant force on the Eagles offense and one of the best fantasy football runners in the game.  Still, Westbrook had struggled with injuries on and off for the last few years and 2009 was finally that straw that broke the back.

Only a few days ago, San Diego released another fan favorite in LaDaianian Tomlinson which now puts two of the top runners over the last 5 years on the free agent market and the downside of that is neither may find employment immediately.  Such is the way of life in the NFL.

In odd contrast, the Miami Dolphins will have to face the same dilemma after the 2010 season, barring a last minute CBA (more on this below), with Ronnie Brown.  Brown is the heart of the Dolphins offense but like Westbrook can’t stay healthy for an entire season consistently.

Mosi Tatupu a long time New England fan favorite and father of Seattle standout LB Lofa Tatupu has passed away at the age of 54 from an unknown cause.  Tatupu had suffered various ailments including a history of high-blood pressure.

The NFL and the NFLPA have yet to reach an agreement on a new CBA but that hasn’t stopped the two sides from publicly stating they are trying.  Today, NFLPA President De’Maurice Smith stated that the players have submitted a proposal for an extension to the current deal for one year that would make this season capped.  While many say that an uncapped year is inevitable, I have been saying for a long time to watch out for that midnight deal that extends the agreement.

It makes sense for both sides to put a cap in place for the season.  There are a lot of players that would immediately become eligible for free agency, including the above mentioned Ronnie Brown as well as Dolphins TE Anthony Fasano among others.

The league still is stuck on the 18% cut in player salaries and of course then internal battle of revenue sharing and the players are still declining the notion that they should give up any pay.  All of this is leading to a showdown in 2011 when heads will collide and a lock-out will loom following the 2010 season.

Mark this down.  If the two sides agree to an extension this year that will only provide a one year continuation of the current salary cap situation, there will be NO extension next year and if the two sides don’t work out an agreement by March 1st, there will be a lockout.  The league will not agree to a continuation two years in a row.  If there is no continuation this year then the prospect of one next year will be possible.

Either way, don’t expect the two sides to hammer anything out quickly if the March NFL season starts with no movement.  If one thing is clear neither side will get the lead out and do it early.

The NFL draft is still 2 months away and the NFL Combine starts tomorrow but that hasn’t stopped draftniks from casting their perspective on who the Dolphins will and should take.  At the core of the debate now is LB Sergio Kindle on the outside and Rolando McClain on the inside.

Much of that of course will be predicated on what the Dolphins do in free agency and don’t be surprised if they take neither player at the 12 spot and opt to trade down instead if they can find a taker.

The Dolphins really need LB’s both inside and outside.  Channing Crowder is no more reliable on the field consistently as he is being on the field healthy consistently.  That’s not to say that he isn’t serviceable, but he may be better formed for the weaker side spot on the interior.

That moves us to Akin Ayodele who is a solid if unspectacular back-up but not a starter and on the outside it’s much worse.  The departing Joey Porter should be easy to replace considering his drop in performance but on the other side there is still too many questions surrounding Cameron Wake to make the statement that the Dolphins are set.

And don’t get me started on the NT situation.  Although, the good news is that the Phins should be able to find one in round 2…something looking to be more and more likely as a possibility.

O.k. that’s it for now, remember iPhone owners, get the free Phinphanatic.com iPhone application by visiting iTunes and searching PHIN!

Topics: Brian Westbrook Released, Channing Crowder, DeMaurice Smith, Joey Porter, LaDainian Tomlinson, Miami Dolphins, Mosi Tatupu, NFL CBA, NFL Combine, NFLPA, Ronnie Brown

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