At businesses all around the world, people are always looking for ways to reduce costs. For the San Diego Chargers, this seemed to be the case for a number of years in the past, but this past offseason, General Manager A.J. Smith went on an uncharacteristic spending spree in what many believe was a last ditch effort to save his job. To this point, the cost-benefit analysis of his investments for the team has yielded a failing grade.
The biggest ticket item that the Bolts splurged on was wide receiver Robert Meachem in an effort to replace the departing Vincent Jackson. Meachem was always a quiet third option for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, but in San Diego, he would be asked to become a primary target for quarterback Philip Rivers.
Four years, $25.9 million later, the Bolts find themselves in quite a quandary. Not for long Head Coach Norv Turner addressed Meachem’s status with the team recently saying: “He’s in it, but it comes down to what we’re using in terms of personnel groups. . “We have a comfort level with Malcom Floyd. Malcom plays all the positions. We’ve tried to get Danario Alexander going and he’s made some plays for us. That’s where we’re at right now.”
What that really says about where we’re at right now for the Bolts is in a big fat mess. The one saving grace is that the majority of his contract was back-loaded so the team can wiggle out from under some of that cash, but more than $4.5 million in guaranteed money remains on the deal. Even if the organization undergoes a complete overhaul this coming offseason, the shadow of these missteps by GM Smith will remain for years to come.
There have been many wrong turns along the way in the current era of Chargers’ football, but none have been as egregious as placing fundamental decision-making control into the hands of one man. While GM Smith earned the praise he received in the mid-2000s, he also deserves a pink slip when this 2012 campaign concludes. His decisions from the hiring of Norv to the signing of Meachem are legit grounds to have the man committed.
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