Remember the good ole days back when former stars for the San Diego Chargers left to sign with others teams and the team actually got some COMPENSATION back in return? Me too, but it seems those days are gone as when the NFL releases its lengthy list of compensatory selections for the 2013 NFL Draft, the Bolts aren’t likely to be seen anywhere on it.
In those aforementioned good ole days, the Chargers were known for letting top-tier level players leave in free agency and signing few if any free agents as replacements. This past off-season, the team actually took a proactive approach to replenishing its roster by signing a plethora of players on the open market. It seemed like a wise move at the time, but now there is no doubt that the Bolts are having buyer’s remorse.
Wide receiver Vincent Jackson left via free agency for a lucrative deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. V Jack had his issues with the Chargers over the years including some DUI incidents and a lengthy contract holdout, but when on the field, he was always ultra-productive. Still the two parted ways last off-season and the Bolts decided to replace a top 10 receiver in the league with two average wideouts. Needless to say, that experiment didn’t work out so well with both Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal failing to latch on during the season and Meachem actually finding himself inactive for a few contests.
Now to the issue of compensatory picks which are awarded to teams that lose top notch stars via free agency on a yearly basis. For the Bolts, clearly V Jack is a top notch star, but picks are only awarded when a team’s number of players lost in free agency is larger than the number of players signed. Unfortunately former General Manager A.J. Smith’s frivolous spending spree last off-season will prevent the team from receiving compensation for their lost star which only adds further insult to injury in this case.
While there is no use crying over spilled milk, there is always purpose when second guessing in sports. Clearly the Chargers would have been better off just letting V Jack walk and dealing with their current depth chart at wide receiver. The top four producers on the team in the passing game were all incumbents on the roster anyway and even the fifth highest, Danario Alexander, was signed midway through the season and wouldn’t have counted against the compensatory rewards process.
Meachem and Royal combined to catch 37 passes for 441 yards in 2012. With Tampa Bay, Vincent Jackson caught 72 for 1,384. You do the math.