According to Michael Gehlken of utsandiego.com, “The San Diego Chargers reached out Wednesday to the representation of Bryant McKinnie, the latest of a couple general discussions between the two sides.”
Gehlken continued by saying, “Pursuit of McKinnie, who turns 34 in September, could turn more heated should the team not find a starting left tackle during the April 25-27 draft.”
McKinnie played nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, started all 16 regular season games seven times and made the Pro Bowl in 2009. McKinnie started all 16 regular season games for the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 and came off the bench in 2012 until he started all four playoff games.
There were high hopes for San Diego’s offensive line last season because they ranked eighth in fewest sacks allowed in 2011. This was due to the improvement after former Kansas City Chiefs LT Jared Gaither was claimed off waivers. Gaither missed 12 games last season and San Diego ranked fourth in sacks allowed.
The NFL Draft is a few weeks away and there is a possibility that San Diego’s front office will not get a franchise type tackle unless they trade up from the 11th pick in round one. Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are expected to be top five picks while San Diego’s most realistic option, Lane Johnson, ranks sixth among prospects.
If San Diego’s front office does not get a tackle in round one, it is not the end of the world because the team also needs an upgrade at cornerback and wide receiver. This opens up the possibility of choosing WR Cordarrelle Patterson or CB Xavier Rhodes with the 11th pick.
At McKinnie’s age, he would obviously not be a long term solution to the problem at LT, but his experience should provide the protection that Philip Rivers needs on his blind side for the 2013 season.