The San Diego Chargers have done a good job in free agency with what they’ve had to work with. Restricted by the salary cap, the Chargers had to look hard to find potential starters to fill holes on the team’s roster, and the team added a few names who could contribute nicely next season. But so far, the Bolts have lost much more than they’ve gained in free agency.
Eight starters from last years’ team are gone: Louis Vasquez, Tyronne Green, Shaun Phillips, Takeo Spikes, Aubrayo Franklin, Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason and Atari Bigby.
At first glance, the team clearly looks worse now than it was at the end of last season. However, the change could be addition by subtraction. Besides Vasquez, Green (who’s still available) and Cason (who no one really wanted back anyway), all those players are over 30.
The Chargers have used this offseason to part ways with their older veterans who they couldn’t win with anyway. Clearly in rebuilding mode, the Bolts have to start fresh with young faces and build a team that can win over the long haul.
Heading into free agency, the Bolts had the oldest roster in the entire NFL, with an average age of 26.86 and way too many players over 30. Now, the Chargers are down to just 9 players over 30, two of which don’t really matter in kicker Nick Novak and punter Mike Scifres.
No doubt the Chargers still have plenty of holes on their roster, but they appear content to fixing those problems with young talent through the NFL Draft. With so many holes, rookies will get their opportunities and will create optimism for the team’s future.
It’s been a while since any rookies have made an immediate impact with the Bolts. General manager Tom Telesco was a part of the quick Indianapolis Colts turnaround a season ago and helped build a roster that saw rookies Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, Vick Ballard and T.Y. Hilton exceed expectations. The Chargers hope Telesco can do the same in San Diego.