Of all the critical decisions that face the San Diego Chargers this offseason in terms of personnel moves, perhaps the most pressing one (pun intended) is the cornerback spot. The team has veterans with expiring contracts, young, unproven players waiting behind them on the depth chart, yet still the position remains an uncertainty. Let’s try to shed some light on the situation and examine all options for the Bolts on the edge this offseason.
Starting with the starters (fittingly), both Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are set to become free agents. Jammer is already 33 years of age and his decade-plus of service to the organization has been outstanding. Still, even as Charles Woodson has shown, remaining a corner that long doesn’t go very well. Even if he were brought back, he would likely be facing a move to safety.
As for Cason, he had a terrific 2010 and the ceiling looked high for the former first round pick of the 2008 draft. His play over the past two years has fallen off a bit and he has been pressed by younger players for playing time. It might be time for the team to let him go unless they can agree to a short-term contract.
That is the perfect segue to the younger players on the depth chart who seem capable of stepping in if necessary. Shareece Wright has been a special teams staple, but he still seems limited to a nickel corner role at this point. Marcus Gilchrist however has what it takes to be a starter and had a nice campaign in 2012. If the Bolts were to turn the page at the cornerback position, Gilchrist would be my ‘next in line’ to take over the starting gig.
Clearly the draft is a possibility when it comes to finding a new crop of corners, but the Bolts might not be able to wait that long for a player to develop. Besides, the offensive line needs as much attention as possible via the draft and it seems imprudent to take a corner when the deficiencies along the offensive front are so glaring.
The final stop would be the trade market and even though it would be a long shot, who’s to say that new General Manager Tom Telesco won’t look to wheel and deal in his tenure with the team? Obviously the name that will come up is New York Jets corner Darrelle Revis who will be approaching free agency next offseason and isn’t happy with the way the team has treated him. The former front office in San Diego with A.J. Smith in charge had a trade relationship set up with the Jets having moved corner Antonio Cromartie there a few years back. Perhaps the Bolts will explore that option deeper as the offseason progresses.
There really aren’t many certainties at this point regarding the Chargers and the cornerback spot. The only thing that is for sure is that the club needs a major overhaul in that area this offseason and whoever is manning the positions by the time September rolls around, it may look drastically different than last year.
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