Friday’s deadline for teams to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets came and gone, and wide receiver Danario Alexander remains with the San Diego Chargers.
Chargers fans were furious and analysts were scratching their heads when they heard that San Diego would only place an original-round tender on the undrafted 24-year-old receiver, who was unquestionably the Chargers’ best receiver last season. Not only did they risk losing him, San Diego would have received nothing in compensation if a team offered him more money than the Chargers were willing to.
The reason teams, including the Chargers, restrained from giving Alexander a better deal was his extensive injury history. Alexander has had five surgeries on his left knee. Though he held up through 10 games last season, it’s unknown whether or not he can play effectively throughout an entire season. However, if he can stay healthy, he’s a legitimate number one receiver in this league and can only get better. He already showed instant chemistry with Philip Rivers last season and now will have the luxury of working with him this offseason.
Clearly, General Manager Tom Telesco knew something that we the fans did not. Telesco understood the league’s perceived value of a receiver with bad knees, and knowing the Bolts’ tight salary cap situation, decided not to overpay for Alexander’s services.
In fact, Alexander’s $1.3 million salary in 2013 makes him an incredible bargain, as he’ll open the season as the offense’s top playmaker. His low salary now also may help the Chargers in negotiations with him next offseason when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Alexander has yet to sign his contract, but participated in the team’s voluntary minicamp this week. Alexander and the Chargers are reportedly in good standing, and he will likely sign the deal soon.