Chargers add Gaither, Johnson and McClain in free agency

The San Diego Chargers reached an agreement for a three year deal with former two time Pro Bowler Le’Ron McClain.  McClain will give San Diego a proven veteran who made the Pro Bowl in 2008 as a fullback rushing for 10 touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl in 2009 as a running back.  McClain’s last two seasons have totaled 136 rushing yards on 43 attempts and one touchdown.  McClain will more than likely be brought in to compete for the backup position to Ryan Mathews.  A change of scenery could be enough to rejuvenate McClain.

Jared Gaither agreed to a four year deal with the Chargers yesterday.  Gaither started five games at tackle for San Diego in 2011 as the offensive line did a great job protecting Philip Rivers.  Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson also agreed to a four year deal with the Chargers.  Johnson started all 16 games for Baltimore every year from 2007-2011 and in the process compiled 206 tackles and 17 sacks.  The Lightning Bolts brought in former Kansas City Chief Demorrio Williams with a one year deal.  Williams recorded 95 tackles and six pass deflections in 13 starts at inside linebacker in 2009.  Since then, Williams has 16 tackles one sack and one pass deflection in 28 games.

San Diego Chargers fans are still waiting on that major splash in free agency.  The organization has done their job by adding  starters in Johnson and Gaither.  San Diego’s main priority in free agency should be pursuing Mario Williams or Mike Wallace.

 


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  • bil

    Bro, as a long time chargers fan you’ve got to give AJ more credit, he’s doing a great job in Free Agency. While yes it would be nice to get mario that would take a HUGE amount of the salary cap away, which we can use for other players, its a slight risk but it may work out for the better in the end. As for getting Mike Wallace, totally not necessary, that guy’s fast, got lots of yards, but Meachem will do a swell job taking the place of jackson, no he’s not jackson but he does have speed similar to wallace. He’s more of a complete receiver than wallace, and he comes at a much cheaper price than wallace, not to mention wallace also requires a 1st round pick to get. floy meachem brown, and maybe royal is a pretty sweet receiving corps. Lets keep draft picks and $ to get better at LB, OL, and DB’s.

    • Kenny Gardner

      I gave A.J. credit in the title of the article as it says “Chargers add depth in free agency with Gaither, Johnson and McClain.” They are all solid moves which I stated because these guys play positions that required depth and backups. Dielman retired, McNeill and Castillo were cut, so San Diego was $15 million under the cap going into free agency, and subtracting the contracts of these three players is an additional $11.6 million for 2012. Williams is with Buffalo now, but if he were still available, dropping the salaries of McNeill and Castillo added an average of about $13 million in 2013, about $13 million in 2014 and $9.8 million in 2015. I agree with you about giving up the first round pick, but as far as Meachem being more of a complete receiver I have to disagree. Meachem had 44 receptions for 638 yards and five touchdowns in 2010 on a New Orleans team that was 2nd in pass attempts per game while Wallace had 60 receptions for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns on a Pittsburgh team that was 27th in pass attempts per game. Meachem had 40 receptions for 620 yards and six touchdowns on a NO team that was 2nd in pass attempts per game in 2011 while Wallace had 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns on a Pit team that was 19th in pass attempts per game.

      • bil

        I feel AJ deserves more credit than adding depth. He filled holes, as starters. I see Mcclain becoming the primary fullback, as it looks like Hester and Tolbert are out the door, and Gaither obviously is a starter, hardwick as well, Johnson probably a starter too rotating with Barnes potentially. As for the reasoning that Wallace is better b/c the steelers as a team were worse passing you have to consider the receiving corps as a whole. The steelers had a young sanders, a young bryant, a washed up ward, and miller a so so tight end, without rb’s really contributing to the passing game, that’s 4 average looking targets with wallace for Ben. Whereas Brees had Colston(stud), moore(solid), henderson(solid), graham(best TE in football), and sproles, 3 options superior to the steelers and two additionals, the receiving corps of the two does not compare. also saints clearly a pass first team, while steelers clearly a run first.

        What would you have had AJ Smith do differently thus far in free agency? I’ve been opposed to many of the moves he’s made and couldn’t have been more disappointed he was retained, but thus far i’m quite pleased with what he’s done.

        • Kenny Gardner

          Antonio Brown had over 1,100 receiving yards for Pittsburgh last season, so Wallace had someone else to worry about as well. Pointing out their lack of weapons at the receiver position can have two different effects as the less help a player has around him adds more pressure, or teams pay less attention because they can be run first, but Wallace was fifth in receiving yards and seventh in touchdown receptions in the NFL in 2010 and 11th in both categories last season, so that makes what he does on a run first team even more impressive. Graham was not a factor until the 2011 season as he had 356 receiving yards in 2010. Moore had more receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns than Meachem the last two seasons. Meachem is solid, but I would not call him a game changer is all I am saying. Also, Indianapolis was 15th in pass attempts per game in 2004 and had three 1,000 yard receivers with at lest 10 touchdown receptions and Graham was the only one on NO to do this in 2011, so having depth should not stop a player if he is great. Hardwick is not discussed in the article, but I gave credit for that signing in another one. McClain has struggled the last two seasons, so I don’t think it is written in stone that he will start. I did not say that A.J. has done anything wrong in free agency. I see your point because of Johnson and Gaither.

          • AJ

            ken,

            u are an ignorant fool

          • Kenny Gardner

            The redundancy of your comment proves who the ignorant one is

          • bil

            Not sure who AJ is haha but he’s not me if you thought he was. As for your comments, yes you make valid points, the simple fact of the matter is the saints were loaded with talent at receiver, in which meachem was lost a bit, udnerstandably so. I do not think he is the same player as wallace but he compares more favorably than some let on. Comparing what manning does with his 4 receivers is irrelevant. Brees crushed the yardage mark, and based on what you said graham was the only guy to go over 1000 yds right? this further proves my original point. guy throws for most yards ever…lots and lots of options. Meachem’s never been given the chance to shine. He’ll do swell. esp now with Royal…Meachem, Floyd, Brown, Gates, pretty sick receiving corps!! and mcclain slipping the last couple years? b/c he didn’t get as many carries? he was used as he should be, a true full back, since he avg less than 4.0 yds per carry. He did a pretty good job in ’10 springing charles and jones for huge seasons. last year, charles out, jones old…can’t say he’s slipping. Sure hope he starts. Guy’s a beast!

          • Kenny Gardner

            I don’t think it’s irrelevant at all as my point was Brandon Stokley had Wayne as a teammate who produced 77 receptions for 1,210 yards and 12 touchdowns, Harrison had 86 receptions for 1,113 yards and 15 TD’s, but Stokley still had 68 receptions for 1,077 yards and 10 TD’s, so Stokley could have been overshadowed as well. James also had 50+ receptions, so my point was they had four guys with 50+ receptions while NO had five guys with 50+ last season. I understand what a fullback does and there are not a lot of Alstott’s out there. I was looking at it from the prospective that it depends on what San Diego wants from their backup based on Tolbert’s last two seasons in which case they might draft a backup in the later rounds to compete with McClain. I don’t expect Rivers to have such a great season like the one in 2010 when he was first in passing yards, second in QB rating, third in completion percentage and fifth in touchdowns when Jackson only played in five games, but I don’t expect Rivers to throw 20 interceptions again either like 2011. Floyd and Gates have combined to miss 18 games the last two seasons, but if they can stay on the field, San Diego should be fine. I agree with u about McClain’s role and SD should have enough players to get receptions and yards with Mathews to take pressure away from them with the run game. By the way, I will admit if I am wrong about Meachem as he will become one of Rivers’ major targets.

          • bil

            ps: “It’s my job to block for Ryan Mathews, to make him the best running back in the league,” McClain said. “That’s my goal. I take pride in that.”

            sounds like mcclain knows what his job is, plow the way for RM baby

  • bil

    Mcclain’s gonna be Lorenzo Neal. A true road paving fullback. I dont see the chargers giving him 3 years and planning on him competing for playing time. But yes I’m pretty sure meachem will become a favorite, along with malcom, who is another reason we don’t need to pickup another receiver. Malcom has a LOT of potential, makes some sick grabs, just hope the guy can stay healthy. and vincent brown showed a lot of potential as well. My main point is we don’t need to replace jackson with one guy. I personally feel better about our groeup of receivers than last year. Some decent depth, solid talent all around. Gonna be a great year.

    • Kenny Gardner

      True. We will see thanks for the comments

  • bil

    question are you an employee of yardbarker or do you just post articles on your own somehow?

    • Kenny Gardner

      I am employed by Rant Sports

      • bil

        sweet, full time? you work out of home? how do i get in on that? i know, an odd seeming question.

        • Kenny Gardner

          We’re required to post at least seven articles a week during the regular season and at least four articles a week during the off-season. I searched for “sports jobs” on simplyhired.com when I found it in December