NFL San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers Lose Louis Vasquez To Denver Broncos

Louis Vasquez San Diego Chargers

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers’ best offensive lineman a season ago and biggest name free agent, Louis Vasquez, was stolen by their biggest rival, the Denver Broncos.

On Tuesday, the first day of free agency, the Broncos beefed up their offensive line by signing the 26-year-old guard to a 4-year, $23.5 million deal to help protect Peyton Manning. Vasquez, a top pass-blocking guard, will be missed most by Philip Rivers, who seemingly ran for his life on almost every play last season.

The Chargers also lost out on another guard, Andy Levitre, who signed with the Tennessee Titans. Many believed the Chargers would target Levitre given his experience in the zone blocking scheme and familiarity with Chargers offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. Whether the Chargers were actually interested in Levitre or not, the free agent market for top-tier guards is now closed, and the Bolts were left out.

Vasquez and Levitre were by far to two best guards available in free agency. With Stephen Schilling the only guard left on the Chargers roster, the team must now scramble to find adequate replacements at the position. Brandon Moore, 33, and Kevin Boothe, 30, are still available and played well last season, but would only be short-term solutions. The team is clearly trying to get younger after cutting many veterans over the past week and may pass on anyone on the wrong side of 30. The Chargers could also still re-sign Tyronne Green, 26, who started 13 games at left guard last season for the Bolts, or draft Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Whatever direction they go, the Chargers need to find someone to play at what now seems to be the Chargers’ weakest position.

Kevin Chan is a San Diego Chargers writer for Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.