Eagles release Westbrook – will McNabb be jettisoned next?

Just one day after the Chargers parted with legend LaDainian Tomlinson, the Eagles followed suit by releasing one-time franchise running back Brian Westbrook on Tuesday.

The writing has been on the wall for a couple months now. Westbrook only played in eight games last year after dealing with a concussion for most of the season. He was due to make $7.25 million in 2010 and after drafting his eventual replacement (“Shady” McCoy) last year, it was unlikely that the Eagles were going to honor the final year of Westbrook’s contract. He should find work elsewhere, although given his age (30) and durability concerns, he might not get more than a one or two-year contract.

Now that Westbrook has been released, the Eagles might turn their attention to quarterback Donovan McNabb’s situation. McNabb’s base salary in 2010 is $5 million, plus he’s due a $6.2 million roster bonus on May 5. With Kevin Kolb waiting in the wings, it’s rumored that if Philly can acquire a first round pick in exchange for McNabb, they’ll deal him this offseason.

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Westbrook has successful ankle surgery

The Eagles received great news Friday as running back Brian Westbrook underwent successful ankle surgery and is expected to be back to full health by the start of the regular season.

Andy Reid said he doesn’t feel the need for the Eagles to add another running back, even though Westbrook’s backups are rookie second round pick “Shady” McCoy and former Dolphin Lorenzo Booker. There was thought that Philly could sign a veteran like Warrick Dunn, but that seems doubtful now after Reid’s comments.

It’s a risk for the Eagles not to bring in another back this summer just in case Westbrook has a setback, but obviously they feel confident that McCoy and Booker will benefit from getting the maximum amount of reps in camp and preseason. The Eagles faced a similar dilemma last season when receiver DeSean Jackson got an opportunity to play because of injuries to guys in front of him on the depth chart and he excelled.

McCoy is an intriguing prospect. He’s not considered to be an every down back, but he has explosive talent and could be a viable addition to the Eagles’ offense. McCoy would be best used as a change-of-pace back to complement Westbrook so he doesn’t wear down in his first year, but at least he’ll see plenty of opportunities to show what he can do.

Report: Westbrook out until Week 1 with high ankle sprain

According to a report by Comcast Sportsnet in Philadelphia, Eagles running back Brian Westbrook will be sidelined until at least Week 1 of the regular season due to a high ankle sprain.

Comcast SportsNet reported that Brian Westbrook was examined by ankle specialist Dr. Mark Myerson in Baltimore on Wednesday and may need to undergo a procedure to clean out the ankle. Either way, according to the report, Westbrook is done until the start of the regular season.

The only official comment thus far from the Eagles came from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg who said that he wasn’t “concerned” about the injury after discussing it with Westbrook on Tuesday afternoon.

While working out recently, the ankle began to bother Westbrook and he contacted head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder to check on it. Andy Reid said on Tuesday that Westbrook would see a doctor, but again, there has been no official update from the team since.

Considering he’ll turn 30 in early September and averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in Philly’s last six games of the 2008 season, this is incredibly damper news for the Eagles. As the article states, the team hasn’t officially stated that Westbrook will miss camp and preseason, but let’s assume for a moment that the report is true.

Philly did draft “Shady” McCoy in the second round this year, but he wasn’t considered a prospect that could be an every down back and he had injury issues himself while at PITT. The Eagles also have Lorenzo Booker, who is a poor man’s Westbrook but like McCoy, isn’t considered an every down back. In seven games for the Dolphins last year, Booker rushed for 125 yards on 28 carries.

If Westbrook is out for the rest of the summer, the good news is that McCoy and Booker will receive plenty of reps. But nobody should be surprised if the team signs a veteran as insurance. Edgerrin James is still available, as is Deuce McAllister, although he’s expected to be suspended for the first four games of the 2009 season, so it’s doubtful the Eagles would add him. Another cheap option would be to bring back Tony Hunt, who was released last October by the Eagles but is a player that has experience in the offense.

It’ll be interesting to see if the team makes this news about Westbrook official.

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