Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is Edgerrin James Done?

The Seattle Seahawks cut Edgerrin James today raising the question, "wait, Edgerrin James was on the Seahawks?"

This marks the second time since September that a potential Hall of Famer from the Manning Era Colts had his career end unceremoniously. It seems like only yesterday James and wide receiver Marvin Harrison combined to form "The Triplets," a trio created by GM Bill Polian, modeled after the "Dallas Triplets" (Aikman, Irvin, Smith) that defeated Polian's Bills in back-to-back Super Bowls (XXVII, XXVIII).

As we know Polian did eventually create a Super Bowl roster, but at that point James was in Arizona, and Marvin Harrison had lost a lot of his looks to Reggie Wayne. In a lot of ways, James and Harrison will essentially reflect the "couldn't get over the hump" years of the Colts franchise rather than the era of championships that is more of a reflection of Wayne, Joseph Addai, and Dallas Clark.

Still, the career of Edgerrin James was one of the best of his era. A four time Pro Bowler, James lead the league in rushing his first two seasons, earning himself a spot on the leagues first team All Pro list as a rookie (selected over Marshall Faulk who he was essentially traded for), and was also named NFL rookie of the year for the 1999 season.

For his career James picked up 12,246 rushing yards, 3,364 receiving yards, 80 rushing touchdowns, and 11 receiving touchdowns. James also has a career 4.0 yards per carry average, as well as a 7.8 yards per reception average. All time he currently ranks 10th overall for rushing yardage, and is less than 75 yards away from passing Jim Brown for career rank #8; he needs less than 50 to pass Marshall Faulk at #9.

So did Edgerrin James' Hall of Fame career end today? Are there any teams in the National Football League that could use James' diminishing skills? If anything, can a contender with pass blocking issues could use him for his superior blocking ability?

Three teams in the hunt come to mind when it comes to signing James, who will be relatively affordable as a mid season signing.

1. The New England Patriots - The Pats love signing players like James, and Belichick knows it will add fuel to the rivalry with Indianapolis that currently exists. Right now, Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor are battling injuries in New England, and Laurence Maroney has been far from consistent. Behind an adequate offensive line, a fresh James may do well in New England.

2. The Houston Texans - Another "rival" of Indianapolis, though to a lesser extent, the Texans recently benched Steve Slaton is favor of Ryan Moats. Though James would likely be asked to be the third back in this situation, he'd provide the veteran leadership in the Texans locker room that the team is currently lacking.

3. The Indianapolis Colts - The Colts flirted with the idea of bringing back James before they drafted Donald Brown. James and the Colts parted on great terms, and after the teams Super Bowl XLI victory they presented Edge with a ring. Currently, Donald Brown is battling nagging but not serious injuries, while Joseph Addai has posted pedestrian numbers. Adding James to the mix would likely be more as a favor to ensure he retires in the top 10 all time yards list, rather than a boost to add a significant weapon to the mix.

If Indianapolis come calling, Edge will sign. I'm not sure about the other two; at this point in his career, I'm uncertain as to whether or not a mature Edgerrin James wants to move somewhere new, for half a season, to sit on the bench.

If this is it, then goodbye Edge. See you in Canton.

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