There are numerous potential storylines that emerge from the first round of roster cuts this time during every NFL season, but the San Diego Chargers have a very intriguing one following their trimming down to 75 players on Monday. The Bolts saw a significant makeover to further distance the roster from the previous era of A.J. Smith at the helm, and some of the names given the axe have been a long time coming.
The biggest name cut was actually Deon Butler, but he was brought in by the new regime and just didn’t fit in with the squad at receiver. As for the distancing from the previous era, however, players like tackle/guard Brandyn Dombrowski, center Colin Baxter, and running back Edwin Baker were all shown the door on Monday. Dombrowski actually started some games at left tackle when the team was in a pinch a few years ago, but he never showed much more than capable reserve potential. Baxter was mainly a depth guy at center, but he was moved around last year when the offensive line was ravaged by injuries. Baker was a former 7th round draft choice who never really impressed much at running back and was a surprise to hang on this long.
Regardless of their potential or lack thereof, these players were all mainstays during A.J. Smith’s reign as GM of the Bolts. This purge signifies a real turning of the page for the Chargers as an organization as the attempt to forge a new identity under their new front office. Current GM Tom Telesco has made some savvy moves already in his tenure with the team, and hopefully the cleansing continues as the team whittles its roster down to 53 by 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Guys like fullback Le’Ron McClain along with guards Johnnie Troutman and Steve Schilling are likely to be among the next wave of cuts. Schilling was a former A.J. pick that never really developed, and Troutman just hasn’t look good after returning from injury last season. He doesn’t really fit in the zone-blocking scheme either as a mauling style of guard. McClain is a veteran in a dying position at fullback that is way overpaid with a $2.5 million cap in 2014. He won’t see much action with Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, and Ronnie Brown figuring to carry the load in the backfield and Mike McCoy’s offense doesn’t figure to feature a fullback much with the Denver Broncos using one less than 10 percent of the time last year.
Cutting the cord with many of A.J.’s former acquisitions will give the locker room a fresh feel for the Chargers as the approach the upcoming season. The Bolts need to get rid of the dead weight on the roster and sort through the youth and potential they have waiting in the wings. Hopefully the first round of cuts is just a sign of things to come as teams narrow their rosters down to 53 this weekend.