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Puddleglum
02-20-2012, 10:42 AM
Hello football fans it is nearing that magical time once again. A time of: bluffing, subterfuge, backstabbing, thievery, skulduggery, even brinksmanship and that's just AJ Smith. Yes free agency shall once again soon be not only upon us but feasting on our crushed hopes and dreams.

So my question to you dear reader is what do you see the Chargers doing regarding free agency? Both with their own FA's and the FAs of others teams? Are any chargers under contract going to be cut? This is the best list of Charger FAs I could find but it felt incomplete as I had to add Gaither (a notable name) myself. So if you spot any others errors with this list please let me know.

Stephen Cooper
Patrick Crayton
Na'il Diggs
Brandyn Dombrowski
Antonio Garay
Steve Gregory
Nick Hardwick
Jacob Hester
Vincent Jackson
Randy McMichael
Scott Mruczkowski
Paul Oliver
Bob Sanders
Kory Sperry
Mike Tolbert
Mike Windt
Jared Gaither

Puddleglum
02-20-2012, 12:24 PM
First lets thin out the herd by making a cut-list of players that are just too old, too fragile, just don't have IT anymore or possibly all 3.

The stick a fork in me directory:

Stephen Cooper - Lost it and too old.
Patrick Crayton - Possibly all 3
Na'il Diggs - Too old
Bob Sanders - Too hurt

Those names seem pretty reasonable as "goners" to me, if you disagree feel free to expand upon those thoughts in a response below.

Then there are some players who usually against popular opinion find a way to stick around regardless of age or skill for depth or other reasons. However, just because they are here does not mean they are bad players.

The Rick Astley fan club:

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Brandyn Dombrowski - A career backup tackle who should be cheap and has seen significant time as starter at both LOT and ROT and clearly does a better job at ROT. I believe he will be back at a good price mostly because I don't see the Chargers drafting a tackle except through UDFA and I believe McNeil will be cut.

Antonio Garay - A starter with very low milage because he's only been starting for 2 years. However he is 32 years old and I believe age IS catching up to him. I think the guy is great as a player however I think he would excel in a 4-3 rather than a 3-4. I think he will be brought back but will share more snaps with Cam Thomas this year. However I believe there could be a bidding war on this guy if the Chargers don't sign him early and could walk for more money elsewhere forcing the Chargers to draft another NT.

Steve Gregory - Okay please hear me out on this one. Just because I put him here does not mean I want him back it means I think the Chargers will bring him back. I think there is no position more muddled and confused than SS on the Chargers. Steve Gregory is a backup AT BEST, he got tagged for performance enhancing drugs and was still mediocre. Darrel Stuckey was drafted in 2010 and was supposed to be the SS of the future. However he had a season ending injury in 2010 and the mostly non-existent off-season in 2011 certainly didn't help his development. Regardless in this time he still has not managed to beat out Gregory for the starting job. Is that a fair statement? I will unashamedly admit it is not, but is a pretty damning one nevertheless. On top of all of this Quentin Jammer looked slower and older than ever in 2011 and I think most of the Bolt public has started realizing he doesn't have much left as a corner but as a SS he could have some good years left in him. I don't know how closely any of you have watched him but he has always seemed to play like more parts safety than corner anyway. This is a nasty situation and I have absolutely no idea how the Charger brass will be solving this.

Jacob Hester - Another guy who was a terrific failure in terms of draft value by AJ Smith. I'll be blunt, I don't like him. Didn't like him on draft day and after 4 years I may like him even less. To be fair I'm not sure it is him or the way he is used in the system. He's billed as a FB but isn't big enough for it in the running game (have you seen him on 3rd down situations? it's laughable when he gets the hand off. Hester is the reason Tolbert got put on the map), is certainly nothing special as far as receiving option, the only time he really even shows up in games is special teams. The Chargers will doubtless overpay him because he is one of AJ's guys. Some people say he's a jack of all trades and Chris Collinsworth loves him. Me? I say he puts the jack in jack $#!*.

Paul Oliver - Backup DB, he will be brought back for depth. Last year showed that he can get a job elsewhere but he was only cut to make room for Bob Sanders in the first place.

Kory Sperry - He is a backup TE at 6'5'' and 265 he is a big target who just completed his 3rd year with very little to show for it which is a shame because when I see him play he tends to do well. Anyone who has read some of my past posts will know that I like this kid. I think he either gets a long term contract or he walks. Why such extremes? Because in the 2 years he has been with the Chargers he has never managed to take snaps from a noticeably aging Randy McMichael and a hurting Antonio Gates.

Then there are are certain players that just plain need to be brought back.

The Encore Club

Nick Hardwick - When he's on his game Hardwick is a top tier center. He needs to be brought back. Don't get me wrong, I actually like his backup Mruczkowski who has stepped in when Hardwick was hurt/getting inked up and performed admirably but I don't think he is better than Hardwick. I believe Hardwick will get a nice 4 year deal.

Mike Windt - Has attempted to fill the legendary shows of Binn and has not made a fool of himself at long snapper. Welcome to the legendary land of long term contracts.

Mike Tolbert - I'm sorry I love Tolbert and I'm worried he may be "the one that got away" in free agency. He's fun to watch and gives it all he's got. If whatever team signs him has a decent O-line and a talented RB to pair him with...watch out. Would love to see the Giants take him, and cut that POS Jacobs. While I'm sure San Diego would love to get him cheap, we weren't even willing to pay Sproles a few mil to stay so I doubt we will keep Tolbert either which is a bad, bad thing as he is far and away our most reliable red zone weapon. Thank goodness we have that guy Todman waiting in the wings...wait...way to go Chargers, way to go.

Jared Gaither - I'm sorry but Gaither did better than McNeil last year. McNeil has been either hurt or holding out far too often and is overrated if we are being honest (Holding penalties anyone?). I know he has motivation issues but frankly if you don't have anyone that help a guy like this out you don't have any business running an NFL team. Sign him early as there will be a bidding war, resign Dombrowski and cut McNeil and you'll actually increase cap room.

Then there are a few sad individuals with whom it is just time to part ways.

The it's not you it's me honorees:

Randy McMichael - Do you know what McMichaels average production is with the Chargers for the past 2 years? About 25 receptions 250ish yards and 1 TD per year. At a little less than a cool million per year, the term "rip-off" leaps to mind. Don't get me wrong, McMichael has certainly not shamed himself in San Diego but it's time to move on.

Scott Mruczkowski - A backup center who will completely shock me if he doesn't get a deal elsewhere soon after as he can also play guard, I think he even did well at ROT at some point. Still young at 29, it's not personal but we simply have Colin Baxter in the wings who is younger and cheaper than you. It will be a good pickup by whatever team that signs him.

The "please God don't let the Chargers screw this up as usual" FA of the year.

Vincent Jackson - Let him walk...please, please just let him walk. I beg you football Gods, LET HIM WALK! Jackson is going to want upwards of 10 mil a year, and I'm going to let you in on a little clue...he isn't worth it. He's 29 years old, and had his best season in 2009. He's been with the Chargers 7 years, and disappears in games. He caught 60 passes in 2011. Hardly sounds vital, and make no mistake when you give someone a 10 mil+ contract they need to be vital to your team. When he was holding out Rivers actually had his best year, that says a lot considering he was throwing to unheralded players. Let him walk and collect a huge comp pick for someone being dumb enough to sign him to a huge contract. Listen to me very carefully Mr. Spanos. I know you feel guilty about this off-season, as you should for keeping Norv and AJ. I know you want to "make it right" with the Charger fans out there. However, we need to get one thing straight...you are an idiot when it comes to football. It's okay, because you sir are OUR idiot. We're still rooting for you, but signing VJ will only make it worse. 3-5 mil and he would be worth it, but not 10 and he's on the downside of his career. Take the money and shore up the O-line and steal some good WR FA's from other teams.

Puddleglum
02-20-2012, 12:51 PM
Some FA's I would love the Chargers to sign:

Tyvon Branch - A tackling machine who despite a great deal of action has stayed healthy. Combining health, youth and productivity makes him a better candidate than Laron Landry by a mile. My only concern is that the Raiders know the kid is pretty good and will try to keep him. Would sort out our SS problem by putting Stuckey as the backup and special teams, Gregory would walk and Jammer would stay corner for another year and possibly be a backup there depending on the progress of Gilchrist and Wright.

Laron Landry - Would still be a good pick up and significant upgrade but his injury history is worrying.

Tom Zbikowski - Feels a heck of a lot more like a Charger FA move, pretty "Meh" but still better than Gregory.

Eddie Royal - Royal had 19 receptions for 155 yards and 1 TD with the Broncos last year. It would surprise me if Royal is a big FA for the Bronco considering how disused he has been since his rookie year. It would be a superb pickup by the Chargers that will help to restock talent on the Charger WR corps. I know the Broncos will have tons of money available in FA but frankly I think Eddie might take a discount to go to a team with an established QB.

Reggie Wayne - Managed to scrap together 1,000 yards despite the sorry flotilla of QB's the Colts used last year. He's got plenty left in the tank and Indy is rebuilding.

Robert Meachem - Don't gem me wrong, Meachem's value is bloated by playing in the same system as Drew Brees but the kid can play and would be more of a centerpiece than in the Saints system.

You'll notice that I did not list any OLB's to fix our pass rush. That's because I believe it will be "fixed" by selecting the least likely of the plethora of round 1 talent at the position, and being a problem the whole year.

The only things the Chargers are allowed to draft in my book is O-line and Defense...that's it. Unless it's BPA but that's about as likely as me meeting you in person and giving you my life savings.

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/imported_assets/985352/3657ig.jpg

FL BRONCO
02-21-2012, 07:51 PM
This is the Broncos board and I think most are into talking Broncos (me included). But you took a lot of time to post this and I found it well thought out and some good points so I thought I'd take the time to thank you, cp you and tell you that it was a really good read.

Puddleglum
02-23-2012, 03:20 PM
This is the Broncos board and I think most are into talking Broncos (me included). But you took a lot of time to post this and I found it well thought out and some good points so I thought I'd take the time to thank you, cp you and tell you that it was a really good read.

Well thank you, I'm glad you found it interesting. I write this stuff down for football fans just like you.