LaDainian Tomlinson is a bad fit for the Bears.
His rushing yards and average gain per carry have plummeted in each of the past three seasons, reaching career-worst numbers of 730 rushing yards and 3.3 yards per carry last season, when he was running behind a much better offensive line than what the Bears have. Tomlinson also benefited from playing in an offense that features one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and an excellent corps of receivers.
There’s no denying that Tomlinson was one of the all-time greats. He has 12,490 rushing yards and 138 rushing touchdowns. His NFL career started with seven straight seasons of 1,200 or more rushing yards, but he’s got the wear and tear of 2,880 carries, and he’ll be 31 before training camp starts. That’s not an age at which where NFL running backs regain the magic of their earlier days.
Tomlinson has also been an outstanding pass catcher, but if there’s one thing Matt Forte does exceptionally well it’s catching the ball. He’s caught 120 passes in two seasons, and if the Bears were able to add a quality running back in free agency or the draft, Forte would still have great value as a receiver in passing situations.
Steelers unrestricted free agent running back Willie Parker makes a lot more sense for the Bears, since he would provide the elite speed and breakaway threat that Forte does not possess. Another back who makes sense because he would complement Forte, is the Titans’ LenDale White, who is a big, strong power back who can move the pile and be a difference maker in short-yardage situations. White is a restricted free agent, but he appears to be excess baggage in Tennessee, where Chris Johnson is the main man.