Rebuilding a franchise is never an easy task. The decision to actually press the restart button is just as taxing and new San Diego Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco is about to face some difficult questions over the coming weeks and months. There are some key players to focus on when trying to determine is the Bolts are going to undergo a quick facelift or complete reconstruction however, and the choices regarding these names will give fans a hint as to just which direction the team is heading.
Veterans that have been with the franchise for their entire careers have expiring contracts in a matter of weeks. Guys like cornerbacks Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason, guards Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green, and even veteran pass rusher Shaun Phillips are all set to hit the open market this offseason. Whether or not the team will attempt to re-sign any of these players will go a long way in establishing just how serious of a reset we will be talking about in 2013.
On the positive side of things, the Chargers had basically no money counting against the cap during 2012 that wasn’t on their roster (otherwise known as dead money). This provides the team with some flexibility when it comes to managing some insanely priced contracts for players that haven’t produced numbers warranting those deals (I’m looking at you Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Jared Gaither).
All of these players mentioned above could be given the axe to begin 2013 and give the franchise a clean slate from which to work. Veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes is also due $3 million and as a part-time player at 36 years of age, it’s unlikely he will return. Nose tackle Antonio Garay was a healthy inactive several times in 2012 and is due $5 million this coming year. Sayonara. Le’Ron McClain was another of the failed signings last offseason and he will likely be gone next season as well.
In reality, the Chargers roster seems like it should look a lot different to begin the 2013 season. There are several players who are free agents that can be completely wiped off of the books and there are also plenty of names who the team would like to forget, but have way too much guaranteed money committed to at this point. Those guys could also be looking for work this offseason if this is going to be a complete reset season.
The five veterans (Jammer, Cason, Phillips, Vasquez, Green) will go a long way to show just what to expect from this club in the 2013 NFL season. If new team management is committed to a rebuild, they should make it as quick and painless as possible by forgetting these guys and turning the page on a relatively unsuccessful era in Chargers football.