While it a serious positive that the San Diego Chargers have finally severed ties with offensive tackle Jared Gaither and gotten his laziness out of their locker room, the move does create another hole on the depth chart that must be filled. Many expect the Bolts to be in hot pursuit of at least one lineman in the NFL Draft, but that doesn’t mean the team can’t still add another body in free agency. Eric Winston is a name that I have been clamoring for since his release by the Kansas City Chiefs and it seems the team may finally be coming around to the idea.
According to the Union-Tribune, the Chargers are certainly open to the idea of adding Winston to the roster prior to the fast-approaching draft. Though Winston would not man the left side of the line, he would allow the team to finally ditch their other underachieving tackle on the right side in Jeromey Clary and save an additional $2.3 million against the salary cap. This possibility alone would help pay for a deal to Winston and would clearly be an instant upgrade to and offensive line in dire need of improvement.
Head Coach Mike McCoy was hired due to his prowess on the offensive side of the football. His top priority is to restore quarterback Philip Rivers and bring him back into the discussion amongst the elite men under center around the league. Given the focus on the offensive line thus far with the additions or King Dunlap and Chad Reinhart, the team clearly feels that some new blood is needed.
It was thought by many that only long-time center Nick Hardwick was safe among the five in the trenches for the Bolts last year. As it looks right now with Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green going the free agent route and Gaither’s release, Clary is the only piece remaining to prevent that from becoming reality. While his run blocking has been adequate during his tenure with the Bolts, untimely penalties and missed blitz pick-ups have been the theme for Clary’s time in San Diego. Moving on from him will give this roster a fresh feeling and further limit the team’s need in the upcoming draft.
The fact that the Bolts could soon be down to one starter on the line from a year ago may seem like a negative, but in reality, the turnover will be a huge positive for this team. Signing Winston would bring in a fresh face that has no affiliation to the previous regime while providing the team with some much needed help in the trenches. It really is a win-win scenario for the Chargers, so let’s get the contract done.