J.J. Arrington Trade Paves Path to Denver for Brian Westbrook



The Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles struck a trade that won't make people look twice, but it did keep Broncos fans awake while waiting for training camp to officially begin for rookies and veterans on Sunday morning.  The Broncos reportedly traded running back J.J. Arrington to the Eagles in exchange for inside linebacker Joe Mays.

Not to overlook the acquisition of Mays, a former sixth round pick from 2008 who could wind up playing a significant role for the Broncos, but there could be a potential acquisition to follow that will make heads turn.

The move that I'm referring to is the potential acquisition of running back Brian Westbrook, whom the Broncos were interested in earlier this offseason.  The Broncos reportedly backed off their interest in Westbrook because they wanted to see what kind of progress Arrington had made as a potential third down back.

Though Arrington was by all accounts healthy and ready to go, the Broncos apparently were not satisfied enough with what they saw, and they were content to leave their running back depth in the hands of unproven Lance Ball, Bruce Hall, and rookie Toney Baker

I can't speak for the Broncos front office, but I wouldn't enter the season with those three guys as my primary insurance policies. 

Bill Williamson at ESPN.com recently cited sources that indicated the Broncos would possibly re-visit signing Brian Westbrook if things didn't work out the way they planned with Arrington, so this is obviously something to keep an eye out for.


I have a very high opinion of Toney Baker.  I think his comeback to football is a tremendous story, and from the highlight reels he has, it seems as though the Broncos could have a steal for a young, bruising running back on their hands.  It's the other guys I'm not so sure about. 

Bruce Hall and Lance Ball could very well be diamonds in the rough who are more than capable of handling backup roles on an NFL roster, but that is something they have been unable to prove consistently in their time in the NFL.  Knowshon Moreno is expected to be the Broncos' primary back, and his backup is Correll Buckhalter, who has spent a ton of time on the injured list over the course of his career.

Brian Westbrook isn't exactly Iron Man when it comes to injuries, but he would still provide the Broncos with some much needed depth and veteran presence at the running back position.  Five running backs seems quite low for a Broncos training camp, but perhaps the coaching staff is planning on using their roster spots elsewhere.

Still, it might be a good idea to give Westbrook a call and have him sign on the dotted line for a season or two.  He's a smart, versatile player who could possibly sign on the cheap, and who fits an area of need for the Broncos.

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