The San Diego Chargers will have a blank slate at the offensive guard position once free agency begins. Though that could be worrisome to the average fan, it is actually a good thing since new offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris won’t be stuck trying to utilize guards that don’t fit his zone-blocking system.
Starters Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green as well as backups Rex Hadnot and Brandyn Dombrowski are all free agents, and could be allowed to walk if not deemed a fit for the team’s new blocking scheme.
If any of these players aren’t retained, the Chargers will likely need to sign at least one potential starter in free agency.
One name that will likely get tossed around in the front office is Buffalo Bills guard Andy Levitre. Levitre worked with D’Alessandris in Buffalo and is a natural fit for the scheme. The 26-year old could also act as a mentor to the others and help them learn the system.
Much like Vasquez, Levitre is an elite pass protector, but has the mobility that Vasquez lacks. At 6-2, 305 pounds, Levitre isn’t a mauler as a run blocker but uses sound technique and smart play to get the job done. He also comes with versatility as he’s played some tackle and center.
A day-one starter as a rookie, Levitre hasn’t missed a game in his four -year career. That durability is something that shouldn’t be overlooked, considering the Chargers are used to seeing their linemen banged up and out of the lineup. Just look at how many games the oft-injured Jared Gaither and Louis Vasquez have missed over the years and the fact that the careers of Marcus McNeill and Kris Dielman were cut short by injury.
The Bills may be focused on re-signing Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd this off-season, which could allow Levitre to test the open market and measure his worth. The Chargers need to improve their offensive line in free agency, and signing Levitre would be a solid move in that direction.