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L.T. charges the AFC East


The New York Jets continue to add well-known names to their roster, as they signed former Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson to a two-year deal worth anywhere from $5.2 million to $5.7 million, depending on which escalators are reached. This signing is kind of perplexing to me, as they had an over-30 RB in Thomas Jones, but released him. They could have retained him for about the same amount of money, and he had a much more productive season last year. Jones rushed for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns while L.T. rushed for 730 yards and 12 touchdowns. While it is true that L.T. would make a better third-down back in passing situations than Jones, the Jets already have a pretty good (and younger) third-down back in Leon Washington.

So was this a good signing for the Jets?

Some of the Jets’ players seem to think so. Some of them tweeted about the signing.

CB Darrelle Revis: “Good move by the organization. I couldn’t be more excited about this.

G Damien Woody: “LaDainian running behind our line … I think he’ll put up better numbers than people think.”

Newly-acquired former Charger CB Antonio Cromartie: “Congrats to my homie L.T.

Jets players aside, I’m a little more skeptical about this. I’m sure L.T. can provide some good plays, but if Shonn Green goes down to injury, can he handle the load on first and second down like Thomas Jones did last year? I don’t think he can. I will concede that he will be running behind a better line, but line or no line, it was evident the past couple of seasons that L.T. didn’t have the cut-and-go burst that he had before. He certainly doesn’t have the power to run between the tackles like Thomas Jones does. NFL Network analyst Rod Woodson tends to agree:

I don’t think it’s a great move on the team’s part. I think the player that has more left in the tank — which is funny to say, because he has a year more in the league — is Thomas Jones. That being said, it’s a good move by L.T. At least going to the Jets, he has an opportunity to take the ball a little bit more. In his mind, I think he wants to show everybody — especially the San Diego Chargers — he can play at a high level.”

Either way, the Jets are certainly closing the gap on the Patriots, making the AFC East a much tighter fight for the top. Don’t sleep on the Dolphins and their offseason improvement thus far as well. The offseason is not over yet so it is tough to say right now who has improved the most, but the Jets have certainly added the most. Whether that’s enough to put them over the Pats and take the AFC East, only time will tell.