I'm not going to lie, I love this guy. Maybe because he was the only guy on my fantasy team to do anything constantly. That being said, he would also be a perfect compliment to Shonn Greene.
He is a power back capable of hitting a 4th gear in the open. Plus he has always been in a platoon situation and is still relatively young at the age of 26 without much wear. Below, I'll give you a few reasons why I would want to see him as a Jet next year.
Tolbert's big advantage is his size: he's listed at 5'9 and 250. Looking at him coming at you is like watching a bowling ball. He's not a tall back, but with his frame, he's excellent at short yardage and goal line situations. Think Brandon Jacobs, but Tolbert doesn't suck. (sorry couldn't resist) The guy is a tank to bring down and will grind out the yardages in between the tackles. He is also a great pitch guy capable of turning it up field and bursting for a long gain. If Sparano wants to ground and pound, this guy would be lethal paired with Greene.
He does have great hands off the backfield too. He's an excellent option out of the backfield, especially on screens. Let's go to the video: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d814c0788/Mike-Tolbert-66-yd-TD. He had 6 receiving touchdowns on the year, a career high. (Considering he had to split time with Matthews, LT and Sproles his numbers tend to be lower than normal.) He ran a 4.58 in 08 at the combine but seems to be able to run faster than that when you watch him in person.
I think his greatest value may be his age and light wear on him. He has played 4 seasons but only has only 2 years where he's gotten over 100 carries. Chalk it up to being mostly a backup and goal line player most of his career. Considering how many backs start slowing down around this age due to the amount of hits, he seems like a guy who could last for a few more years than usual. If he does have a breakout year, this would probably be the season where he gets it.
Now for the tougher issue of payment He only made 1.8 million the last two years. I doubt he's going to get mega bucks, but a raise is in order but how much I really couldn't say. Depending on how the market plays out, I can defiantly see him getting anywhere between 2.0 -3.5 million next year in base salary. (Figure he's going to be paid outside the top 12 in backs) For his type of talent, I would not want to go too much more. I think two years and 4.5-7 million and a signing bonus about 1-2.5 million a year would be more than enough to entice him to NY. Considering he would be a great compliment to Greene and cement our ground and pound for a few years, it may be a great investment.
Yes, there are some downsides about him. One he is a little older, and a rookie could be had for cheaper. Also, he has had the injury bug bite him it seems every year. This year was no different, as he missed one game. Also he has never carried the full load nor anything near it. His career total for yards in 4 seasons is about 1500 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. That was more the system around him then anything else, as they always used him more as a short yardage back.
Still the risk/reward factor is through the roof. If he does become a free agent and remains cheap, I would love to have him as a compliment to Greene.
Anyone else with me?