Economical Free Agents that Would Immediately Improve the San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers had been more of a seller than a buyer in free agency up until last offseason. While their investments didn’t exactly pan out the way they had hoped in 2012, that doesn’t mean that the team will shy away from the free agent market as a result. New General Manager Tom Telesco could make some calculated additions to this club during the offseason that will greatly improve the roster and give them a real chance to be competitive in the year ahead. Here are some possibilities to enhance a depth chart that really does need plenty of work this offseason.
For all intents and purposes, it may be safe to officially declare Ryan Mathews a bust. Even if he isn’t a full blown bust at this point, in the very least if seems that he needs a complementary back in order to be successful. Shonn Greene of the New York Jets could offer that type of play to the Bolts in 2013 as he is a downhill, between the tackles runner while Mathews likes to get out on the edge more and stretch a defense. Greene would be the thunder and Mathews the lightning if the Chargers want to live up to their name in the year ahead. The team could likely add him for a moderate investment and greatly improve their depth as well as their production on the ground.
Even though Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal were added last offseason, the team could still use some help here. Keeping Danario Alexander is of the utmost importance given the rapport that he and quarterback Philip Rivers developed during this past season, but adding another player to the mix would be nice. It may be stretching the salary cap a bit and could force some cuts in other areas, but bringing in Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a lot of sense. Wallace can take the top off of defense freeing up the underneath routes for tight end Antonio Gates. His field-stretching ability could come at a bargain due to a noisily unsuccessful season in Pittsburgh in 2012 and it would immediately return the Bolts’ offense to a scary status.
This spot is a bit more dicey because teams want to invest heavily in defending the pass nowadays, but it’s possible for the Chargers to find a bargain somewhere. Both Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are likely gone which means that either the draft of free agency must be used to add some depth. Dominique Rodger-Cromartie is a name that has disappeared from the radar in terms of elite corners in the NFL, but he still has plenty of skill. He will be just 27 years old when 2013 begins and could really flourish with a change of scenery. After two lackluster years with the Philadelphia Eagles, maybe a one or two year deal is possible on the cheap end for a Pro Bowl caliber corner.
It’s tough to predict just how Telesco and company will do things with the Bolts given the lack of history to go by. Moves like the ones mentioned above would be cost effective signings that could have maximum impact on the Chargers in 2013. Hopefully some of these possibilities turn into realities by the time the season gets underway.