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Chargers express faith, sort of, in free-agent bust Robert Meachem

By Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
Chargers WR Robert Meachem set career lows with 207 receiving yards and two TDs in 2012. (USATSI)

It's never a good sign when a general manager says this about his team's biggest free-agent acquisition: “When he played a little more, he looked pretty good to me.”

The GM, San Diego's Tom Telesco, was talking to the Union-Tribune about Robert Meachem, the wideout who caught 14 passes after being given $14 million guaranteed.

Telesco can't be blamed for what looks like a horrific signing. It was A.J. Smith's doing. But Meachem is Telesco's problem now.

Meachem, 28, has a guaranteed salary of $5 million this season, and cutting him would result in a $10.6-million cap hit, the paper reported. His cap number is $3.75 million less if the Chargers keep him.

So the Chargers have to hope Meachem blossoms under the new regime. The paper reports coach Mike McCoy and wide receivers coach Fred Graves “reached out” to Meachem shortly after being hired and “indicated their desire to move forward together.”

Telesco told the paper he watched tape of Meachem's 2012 season. It wasn't pretty, as Meachem set career lows with 207 receiving yards and two touchdowns while catching 14 of 32 targets from Philip Rivers.

“Early on in the year when he played a little more, he looked pretty good to me, so I'm excited to see him in OTAs, running routes, up close and personal and get to know him a little better,” Telesco said.

Meachem dropped a touchdown pass in a 7-6 loss at Cleveland in late October, then strained a hamstring in practice. He played sparingly from then on as Danario Alexander emerged.

The Chargers signed Meachem to a four-year, $25.9-million deal on the same day that Vincent Jackson left San Diego for the Buccaneers. Meachem spent his first four seasons with the Saints. His best year was 2009 when he had 45 catches for 722 yards and nine touchdowns.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 ET and NFL newsletter. You can also follow Larry Hartstein @LarryHartstein.

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