Who Says You Cant Go Home?

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Could LaDanian Tomlinson really be staying with the San Diego Chargers? It’s sure starting to look like it. The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that the contract negotiations are in the final stages. Yea, I know this is a pretty big turn around from what we were hearing earlier in the week. Both sides have said all along they want to be together in 2009 but it didn’t look like the money was there to support it.

The Chargers offered a “take it or leave it” type deal this past Friday, March 6th and many thought that was the end of the road. Surprisingly, it looks like LT will be taking the deal, probably with minor variations. So will he be taking a pay cut? Yes and no. It looks like his 2009 salary will be slightly less then the $6.75 million he was due to earn. The real pay cuts will be in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. The SD Tribune even suggests the restructuring of his contract will eliminate the 2011 season all together, letting him become a free agent.

So why has LT had a change of heart? Why’s he willing to take these pay cuts to stay in town? It’s definitely not his love for the team. The NFL is all about show me the money so Charger fans don’t think he’s being sentimental. Profootballtalk.com suggests that LT’s agent Tom Condon shopped the offer around and realized no team would be willing to pony up. So with the NFL being all about the money, one can reasonably assume that the Chargers are showing LT the most money. Big drop for the guy who scored 28 touchdowns just a couple years ago, but then again over used running backs do drop off fast.

Despite the injury concerns LT is still a 1000-yard rusher, hitting the mark again in 2008. While the team can’t send him out there for 300 carries a season anymore, he could still be very explosive when paired with Darren Sproles. Sproles was franchised by the Chargers this season which shows the team is very high on him. But with these two paired they could easily have one of the better two-back tandems in the league next season.

With the NFL Draft being all the talk lately, what does this mean for San Diego. In our latest NFL Mock Draft, we had the Chargers selecting offensive tackle Michael Oher from Virginia. Our reasoning was that the Chargers had more pressing needs even if LT walked. Most have had the Chargers taking a running back here, naturally assuming that LT would walk. IF LT accepts the current offer there is no reason at all for the Chargers to even look at a running back in the first round.

Hopefully LT takes the deal, I think he’s got a lot left to prove. He’s not the talent he once was but can still be very effective in the NFL. Staying with the Chargers will also give him the best chance at winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

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