After the news came down on Thursday that Bryant McKinnie had re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens despite their best efforts to woo him away, the San Diego Chargers head back to the drawing board considering their left tackle position. Quarterback Philip Rivers has been abused far too often over the past three seasons, and all of that running for his life has really thrown off his rhythm in the passing game. The Bolts must find a solution at the left tackle position, but is that answer already on their roster or do they still need to fix a free agent fix?
While it’s impossible to answer that question for certain let’s take a look at the potential options the team has now with training camp at little more than two months away.
FREE AGENT OPTIONS
The pickings may be slim now that McKinnie is off the market, but there are still serviceable names available. Max Starks is easily the top remaining NFL free agent, but he has some serious loyalty to the Pittsburgh Steelers that may be difficult to get around. Luring him to San Diego would be an instant upgrade over what the team has dealt with in recent seasons.
General Manager Tom Telesco is familiar with the name Winston Justice as well having signed him with the Indianapolis Colts last season. He started 12 games in Indy last year and could provide a decent stopgap solution for the team as they sort things out at the position.
Clearly the Bolts could stand pat with their current players and head into the season capable of getting the job done. Mike Harris played in 15 games last season and started nine for the Bolts with the bind that Jared Gaither put the team into. For an undrafted rookie he did quite well, but the team has to want a bit more stability at the position in 2013.
The signing of King Dunlap wasn’t a monumental one, but he did start 12 games last year with the Philadelphia Eagles. That was the most action the 27 year old has seen thus far in his four-year career, and maybe the Bolts like what they saw from him on film.
It’s hard to believe that the team will stand pat at the left tackle spot after their lengthy flirtation with McKinnie recently. Just which route they will choose to go in remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Telesco give Justice a call given the familiarity the two share from last season with the Colts. One thing is for sure; Rivers has to hope his protection improves drastically this season after being sacked 49 times in 2012.