Trading LaDainian Tomlinson? The heck you say

MJD
December 4, 2008

Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune is, quite sensibly, writing about the Chargers 2009 season. Since this is a team built to win now, and now has passed without a whole lot of winning, for all intents and purposes, the Chargers 2008 season is over. That is, unless you place a lot of importance on winning tonight's game, which would be something like the 11,984th consecutive win over the Raiders.

Anyway, in looking towards next year, Acee brings up a possibility that I find to be taboo, disgusting, and tasteless in every way. I'm going to have to shower with a brillo pad and a bottle of acetone after even just cutting and pasting it.

Superagent Tom Condon represents LaDainian Tomlinson and Shawne Merriman, and the future of both is being assessed.

Tomlinson already has made it clear he is not playing beyond his contract, which expires after the 2011 season. The Chargers are not redoing his contract. Tomlinson is not pleased with the direction of the offense.

April is not too early for Smith to draft Tomlinson's heir.

The thinking is that Tomlinson will be the Chargers' running back in 2009, but his trade value is only going to decline as he gets older.

Tomlinson hasn't had a lot of room with the poor run blocking of the offensive line or a lot of opportunities with the Chargers playing from behind so much. But with all due respect to the future Hall of Famer, he is not the back he was in 2006, and there is no one who thinks he ever will be again.

He'll be 30 before next season, and it would not be the biggest shock to see him traded before then, with the facilitation of Condon.

It burns my eyeballs when I see a sentence with the words "Tomlinson" and "trade" in it. I am confused, and I think I just developed lupus.

If recent NFL history has proven anything, it's that there's not a whole lot of value attached to aging running backs. Say the Bolts snag a 3rd-rounder for him (and that might even be a stretch) ... for a team trying to win a Super Bowl immediately, what's a 3rd rounder get them?

Is a 3rd-round draft pick more valuable than what LaDainian Tomlinson might be able to do after an off-season of good health and offensive line improvement? And if they don't improve the run blocking, what's a rookie going to do for them that LaDainian Tomlinson can't?

To me, it's shocking to even see the possibility in print. I feel like a Packers fan when all the Brett Favre trade talk started, except LaDainian Tomlinson didn't make an ass of himself to bring the whole thing on. I can't think rationally about it.

I will say this for A.J. Smith, though: He won't let sentimentality guide his decisions. He let Drew Brees go without batting an eyelash, and I guess it wouldn't be any different for LaDianian Tomlinson. Myself, I'm so sentimental, that if I was in charge, Junior Seau would still be starting at middle linebacker and the QB Depth chart would read, "Brees, Humphries, Fouts."