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News » San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2009-04-03

San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2009-04-03

San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2009-04-03
No free agents are expected to meet with the Chargers until after the draft.

The team continues, it seems, to waffle between going for a running back with its first-round pick to start grooming as LaDainian Tomlinson's eventual replacement or filling another hole.

There are also needs on the defensive side, after losing starting end Igor Olshansky to free agency and questions about the durability of veteran defensive tackle Jamal Williams.


While the Chargers are seldom players early in free agency with any significant signings, keep an eye on them once the draft is history.

General manager A. J. Smith is keen at filling needs not addressed through the draft by picking up veteran players let go or have yet to sign as training camp draws near.

Last year he picked up backup linebacker Derek Smith and center Jeremy Newberry - both players were starters in the early part of the season because of injuries.

So just because the Chargers have yet to make a splash in the free-agent pool, that doesn't mean they won't dip their toe in the water again at some point after the draft.


1. Strong safety: The Chargers' pass defense was horrible last year. It wasn't all Clinton Hart's fault but it's obvious the team seeks a hard-hitter on the back end to strike some fear into receivers. That pass defense should improve with the return of a healthy Shawne Merriman, but an upgrade at strong safety would help as well.

2. Right guard: The departure of Mike Goff as a free agent and the lack of depth behind him is a concern. If the Chargers can fill the right guard spot, there might not as much urgency to try and replace right tackle Jeromey Clary as well. The Chargers must shore the right side of the line, but the biggest void is at tackle.

3. Defensive end: With Igor Olshansky being allowed to flee in free agency, the Chargers aren't certain they have a bona fide started on the roster. The team could fill this need through the draft.

MEDICAL WATCH: OLB Shawne Merriman (knee) is expected to be a full go in the offseason workouts.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: RB Darren Sproles: Tendered at $6.621M.



--OLB Marques Harris was used on passing downs and has shown some promise, but he won't be re-signed.

--C Jeremy Newberry was a valuable backup when Nick Hardwick was injured early last season, but the Chargers won't re-sign him.


--WR Malcom Floyd (tendered at $1.545M with second-round pick as compensation) has a good connection with QB Philip Rivers and can be a solid red-zone target. Injuries slowed him some down the stretch last year.

--CB Cletis Gordon (tendered at $1.545M with second-round pick as compensation) surprised some by getting that tender as some of his shortcomings were exposed when playing extended stretches last year. But he is a solid special teams player and has potential as a returner.



--OT Jeromey Clary: ERFA; $460,000/1 yr.

--OG Kynan Forney: Potential UFA; $4.8M/2 yrs, SB unknown.


--LB Kevin Burnett: UFA Cowboys; $5.5M/2 yrs, $2M SB.


--RB Eldra Buckley (released).

--OG Mike Goff: UFA Chargers; $3.5M/2 yrs, guarantees unknown.

--DE Igor Olshansky: UFA Cowboys; $18M/4 yrs, $8M guaranteed.

--LB Anthony Waters (released).

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 3, 2009

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Nate Kaeding Name: Nate Kaeding
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