When the San Diego Chargers decided to fire former General Manager A.J. Smith and hire some new blood in GM Tom Telesco, all of the hard-line negotiation tactics and asinine decisions in free agency were supposed to leave the organization. While it may be a little early to say that was just wishful thinking, it certainly isn’t too early to judge the franchise’s decision on wide receiver Danario Alexander.
As a restricted free agent, San Diego had the right to retain his services for the 2013 season at a number of different price tags. Various rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft are attached to these tender amounts and if another club swooped in to sign Alexander to an offer sheet, the Bolts retain first right to match it. I they choose not to match an offer should some team decide to significantly overpay for his services, that team would then have to compensate the Chargers with the corresponding draft round attached to the tender.
Here is where the decision making becomes absolutely asinine.
Fully aware of these circumstances, the Chargers have chosen to peg Alexander with an original round tender. Now that would be just fine if he had been a first or even a second round pick coming into the league, but he wasn’t. Alexander was an undrafted free agent before signing with the St. Louis Rams which means if another team signs him to an offer the Bolts don’t want to match, they get ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in return.
I know that sounds awfully familiar to long-standing Chargers fans like me where the names Drew Brees, Michael Turner, Darren Sproles, and Vincent Jackson remain permanently etched in the lore of all-time stupid decisions. This really makes no sense on any level whatsoever. For anyone who says they are just trying to gauge the market for Alexander and don’t want to pay him too much, that’s bogus.
A first round tender would have warranted a $2.879 million salary for 2013 which is by all accounts a bargain for the type of production Alexander put up in just 10 games a year ago. With the original round tender, his salary will be $1.323 million for a difference of a mere $1.556 million. For you and I, that is an enormous sum of money, but for an NFL team set to spend more than $120 million on salaries in one season, that’s a pittance!
Maybe the team still doesn’t trust Alexander’s shaky knees or maybe they just don’t think he fits in the new offense. Regardless of any of that, risking losing him for NOTHING is more of the same from a team that I thought had turned over a new leaf this offseason.