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Checkdowns: Tomlinson to the Jets

Posted by Chase Stuart on March 15, 2010

LaDainian Tomlinson has had an incredibly successful pro career, all while playing for the San Diego Chargers. Now, in the twilight of his football life, he's moving on to a new team. Sound familiar? Tomlinson joins a long list of all-time greats who switched teams before fading into the sunset. The Jets have picked up aging Hall of Famers before (Brett Favre, Art Monk and Ronnie Lott, who came to NY after a couple of seasons with the Raiders), but they're by no means the king of acquiring former superstars in their thirties (that would be the 49ers).

Who were the best players to change teams? Which teams have picked up the most aging superstars? Which player hung with one team the longest but still didn't retire in that city? I looked at all players who acquired at least 100 points of AV with one team (I'm talking about the sum of his single season AV scores, not the 100-95-90 career AV score) before moving on to a new team. I only gave the new team credit if the player immediately joined that team, so the Jets don't get credit for Ronnie Lott and the Eagles don't get credit for Art Monk (who went there after playing for the Jets). The table below shows all players who meet the above description, along with each player's accumulated AV with his former team, his number of seasons with his former team, his age and the year when he first played for the new team, the AV he had for his new team in his first season, and his number of seasons with his new suitor. (Note: There are two columns for position; the first column is presented so you can sort by position in a more effective manner.)

name pos pos tm tmav tmsea newtm year age av #sea
Brett Favre 10 QB GNB 222 16 NYJ 2008 39 12 1
Jerry Rice 100 WR SFO 215 16 OAK 2001 39 12 4
Johnny Unitas 10 QB BAL 201 17 SDG 1973 40 1 1
Bruce Smith 210 DE BUF 193 15 WAS 2000 37 10 4
Carl Eller 210 DE MIN 187 15 SEA 1979 37 3 1
Alan Page 220 DT MIN 181 12 CHI 1978 33 8 4
Bill George 335 LB CHI 169 14 RAM 1966 37 8 1
Emmitt Smith 20 RB DAL 162 13 ARI 2003 34 2 2
Junior Seau 335 LB SDG 162 13 MIA 2003 34 8 3
Ron Yary 150 T MIN 153 14 RAM 1982 36 1 1
Joe Montana 10 QB SFO 146 14 KAN 1993 37 9 2
Tim Brown 100 WR OAK 143 16 TAM 2004 38 2 1
LaDainian Tomlinson 20 RB SDG 142 9 NYJ 2010 31 ?? ?
Rickey Jackson 335 LB NOR 141 13 SFO 1994 36 7 2
Zach Thomas 335 LB MIA 141 12 DAL 2008 35 7 1
Jason Taylor 210 DE MIA 136 11 WAS 2008 34 6 1
Forrest Gregg 150 T GNB 135 15 DAL 1971 38 1 1
Thurman Thomas 20 RB BUF 135 12 MIA 2000 34 2 1
Mike Webster 170 C PIT 135 15 KAN 1989 37 6 2
Doug Atkins 210 DE CHI 135 12 NOR 1967 37 5 3
Jim Hart 10 QB STL 133 18 WAS 1984 40 0 1
Franco Harris 20 RB PIT 133 12 SEA 1984 34 1 1
Emlen Tunnell 440 DB NYG 132 11 GNB 1959 34 11 3
Reggie White 210 DE PHI 132 8 GNB 1993 32 16 6
Andre Reed 100 WR BUF 131 15 WAS 2000 36 1 1
Tony Gonzalez 130 TE KAN 131 12 ATL 2009 33 11 1
Tony Dorsett 20 RB DAL 131 11 DEN 1988 34 6 1
Randall McDaniel 160 G MIN 129 12 TAM 2000 36 8 2
Deacon Jones 210 DE RAM 129 11 SDG 1972 34 9 2
Isaac Bruce 100 WR STL 128 14 SFO 2008 36 7 2
Warren Sapp 220 DT TAM 125 9 OAK 2004 32 6 4
Ronnie Lott 440 DB SFO 125 10 RAI 1991 32 13 2
Clay Matthews 335 LB CLE 125 16 ATL 1994 38 5 3
Jim Tyrer 150 T KAN 123 13 WAS 1974 35 2 1
Art Monk 100 WR WAS 123 14 NYJ 1994 37 5 1
Rod Woodson 440 DB PIT 122 10 SFO 1997 32 6 1
Steve McMichael 220 DT CHI 121 13 GNB 1994 37 7 1
Brian Dawkins 440 DB PHI 121 13 DEN 2009 36 11 1
Richmond Webb 150 T MIA 121 11 CIN 2001 34 5 2
Cris Carter 100 WR MIN 120 12 MIA 2002 37 1 1
Warren Moon 10 QB HOU 120 10 MIN 1994 38 11 3
Herb Adderley 440 DB GNB 119 9 DAL 1970 31 7 3
John Randle 220 DT MIN 119 11 SEA 2001 34 10 3
Orlando Pace 150 T STL 119 12 CHI 2009 34 5 1
Torry Holt 100 WR STL 117 10 JAX 2009 33 6 1
Richard Dent 210 DE CHI 116 11 SFO 1994 34 1 1
Steve McNair 10 QB TEN 115 11 BAL 2006 33 10 2
Jim Ringo 170 C GNB 115 11 PHI 1964 33 10 4
Ray Childress 220 DT HOU 114 11 DAL 1996 34 0 1
Edgerrin James 20 RB IND 113 7 ARI 2006 28 8 3
Len Ford 210 DE CLE 111 8 GNB 1958 32 5 1
Larry Allen 160 G DAL 110 12 SFO 2006 35 8 2
Stan Jones 160 G CHI 108 12 WAS 1966 35 6 1
Winston Hill 150 T NYJ 107 14 RAM 1977 36 0 1
Joe Namath 10 QB NYJ 107 12 RAM 1977 34 3 1
Willie Anderson 150 T CIN 107 12 BAL 2008 33 5 1
Chris Doleman 210 DE MIN 106 9 ATL 1994 33 3 2
Marcus Allen 20 RB RAI 106 11 KAN 1993 33 8 5
Fred Taylor 20 RB JAX 106 11 NWE 2009 33 2 1
Stanley Morgan 100 WR NWE 106 13 IND 1990 35 3 1
Jacob Green 210 DE SEA 105 12 SFO 1992 35 0 1
O.J. Simpson 20 RB BUF 105 9 SFO 1978 31 5 2
Isiah Robertson 335 LB RAM 105 8 BUF 1979 30 10 4
Greg Lloyd 335 LB PIT 104 10 CAR 1998 33 5 1
Mark Brunell 10 QB JAX 103 9 WAS 2004 34 0 3
Harold Carmichael 100 WR PHI 102 13 DAL 1984 35 0 1
Jackie Smith 130 TE STL 102 15 DAL 1978 38 1 1
Ken Gray 160 G STL 102 12 HOU 1970 34 6 1
Richie Petitbon 440 DB CHI 101 10 RAM 1969 31 6 2
Randall Cunningham 10 QB PHI 101 11 MIN 1997 34 3 3
Fred Smerlas 230 NT BUF 100 11 SFO 1990 33 1 1
Roger Craig 20 RB SFO 100 8 RAI 1991 31 6 1
Lomas Brown 150 T DET 100 11 ARI 1996 33 9 3
Claude Humphrey 210 DE ATL 100 11 PHI 1979 35 8 3
Raymond Clayborn 440 DB NWE 100 13 CLE 1990 35 4 2
Joe Ferguson 10 QB BUF 100 12 DET 1985 35 1 2

Obviously, Tomlinson's departure from the Chargers is not unprecedented. If Rice, Unitas, Montana, Alan Page, Emmitt Smith and Bruce Smith can switch teams, so can Tomlinson. And, interesting enough, based on AV, he's not even the best Charger to leave in recent history nor is he the best old superstar to come to the Jets.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 15th, 2010 at 8:03 pm and is filed under Checkdowns, History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.