Clues continue to emerge as to just what kind of focus the San Diego Chargers’ offseason may take on when March 12 finally arrives. The team has plenty of areas that need a makeover as evidenced by their 7-9 record in 2012 and free agency as well as the NFL Draft will be the two places to conduct that much needed facelift. Some recent roster moves have shed some light on just where the Bolts may focus their resources this offseason as General Manager Tom Telesco readies himself for this arduous task.
On Thursday, the Chargers sent 15-year veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes packing in a much anticipated move that would bring some serious salary cap savings. Friday the club continued to purge the roster as safety Atari Bigby was cut in a move that paves the way for youngsters Darrell Stuckey and Brandon Taylor to battle it out for the starting job opposite Eric Weddle in the upcoming season.
These two moves have now put the team $12.1 million under the salary cap and with the release of nose tackle Antonio Garay expected any day now, the club can clear an additional $5 million. The Chargers are also expected to mull the option of severing ties with problem child Jared Gaither at offensive tackle after his lazy behavior and presumed fake injuries that rubbed several teammates the wrong way last season.
This isn’t exactly a massive amount of cap room, but it certainly gives Telesco and company enough space to maneuver a few strategic signings if they are so inclined. One player that has been mentioned as a real under the radar possibility is cornerback Jerraud Powers who Telesco has familiarity with from his days with the Indianapolis Colts. With both Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason hitting the free agent market at cornerback, perhaps a combination of Powers and third-year man Marcus Gilchrist could hold down the starting positions in 2013.
Small moves such as this may be on the horizon, but as most anticipate, the Bolts won’t be huge players in the market. GM Telesco said: “there’s a time and place” for diving into free agency,” but that time and place for is not this year.” So as the team continues to clear space under the cap, don’t get your hopes up for that big splash signing. The Chargers will be more likely to let the dust settle and land a few key, overlooked guys before primarily using the draft to retool their roster.