It is no secret that the San Diego Chargers were going to choose a left tackle in last week’s NFL Draft, but they did not trade up to acquire one and selected right tackle D.J. Fluker with the 11th pick.
According to Michael Gehlken of utsandiego.com, “The team has its sights set on Bryant McKinnie, a 12th year veteran scheduled to visit the team today, a league source said Monday night. San Diego first expressed interest in McKinnie before the draft, interest that was solidified with the developments of last week’s first round.”
San Diego’s offensive line allowed 49 sacks last season which ranked fourth in the league and was due in part to the absence of Jared Gaither. Gaither was picked up off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 and San Diego allowed two sacks in five games with him at LT.
Gaither missed the entire 2012 preseason with a back injury and would go on to miss 12 games last season with multiple injuries. Gaither was released last month by San Diego’s front office.
McKinnie spent nine of his 11 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and made the Pro Bowl in 2009. McKinnie spent the last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, started all 16 games in 2011, did not start a regular season game in 2012, but started all of Baltimore’s playoff games on their way to a Super Bowl title.
If McKinnie agrees to a deal with San Diego, his age would make him a short term solution and San Diego’s front office would have to go after a franchise LT in free agency or the draft next year.
San Diego could explore the option of playing Fluker at LT, but he may not have the mobility to play this position, which is why San Diego’s front office is pursuing McKinnie in free agency.