Westbrook on Packers’ radar

According to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report, the Green Bay Packers are interested in Brian Westbrook.

Though it’s unclear whether the Packers are serious enough to sign the 30-year-old veteran, two sources said Monday that the club definitely has shown interest. Westbrook became a free agent when the Eagles released him Feb. 23.

If healthy, Westbrook could provide [head coach Mike] McCarthy with the effective third-down back he has lacked in recent years. Brandon Jackson was an outstanding blocker on third downs last year, but he was not a factor as a receiver or runner. Starter Ryan Grant has expressed an interest in playing more on third downs, but Westbrook would handle a large share of that if signed.

If the Packers signed Westbrook, they probably would want it to be a short-term deal with incentives that would pump up the value if he has a good year. Westbrook, however, made $5.85 million last year and was scheduled to make more than $7 million this year before the Eagles cut him. He may be willing to sit out until he gets the deal he wants.

An incentive-laden deal would make a lot of sense. Westbrook is a great fit for the West Coast Offense in that he’s a terrific receiver out of the backfield. Ryan Grant is good between the tackles, but has trouble turning his hips and heading upfield after catching the ball. Westy doesn’t have that problem.

Fantasy-wise, Westbrook’s arrival would certainly limit Grant’s upside, but he wasn’t playing much on third downs anyway. He’d still get most of the first- and second-down carries and all of the goal line work. Westbrook’s presence would boost Aaron Rodgers’ value even more, because when he’s healthy, he’s arguably the most explosive pass-catching RB in the game and is bound to take a few short dump offs to the house.


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