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Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

The Chargers have been active, and that was pretty much a given with team president Dean Spanos hinting that there would changes in the approach to acquiring personnel when he decided to bring back coach Norv Turner and general manager A. J. Smith.

That said, are the Chargers better at any spot than they were when opening last season? A case could be made that they are deeper at wide receiver - pickups include Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal - but the team lost a game-changer in Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson.

And while the outside linebacker's spot looks more stout with the addition of the Ravens' Jarret Jackson, he is seen as more a run-stopper than a pass rusher; that is what the Chargers really need coming off the edge in their 3-4 alignment.

So while there's no denying the Chargers have been busy, are they better?


1. Outside linebacker: Despite the Chargers' moves, the team still needs someone to put heat on the quarterback. This might be addressed in the draft; the team is also hoping Larry English, a former first-round pick, can finally stay healthy and be productive. But the team's patience with English has diminished, so they still require someone to line up opposite Shaun Phillips to put pressure on the pocket.

2. Cornerback: While there hasn't been an exodus of frontline players here, the Chargers have to wonder if what they have returning doesn't raise red flags on its own. Antoine Cason is the starter, but he briefly lost his job last year. Quentin Jammer was beat consistently down the stretch last year.

3. Strong safety: The Bob Sanders experiment didn't work and Steve Gregory, the starter after Sanders went down, left for New England. The team has been seeking a replacement for Rodney Harrison for a long time and that search continues.

No updates.




--ILB Stephen Cooper tried to fight through an arm injury last season and eventually went to injured reserve. He won't be returning.

--WR Patrick Crayton was a viable option, especially with injuries to Malcom Floyd. But the thinking is Vincent Brown has matured enough to take Crayton's role.

--LB Na'il Diggs will likely be expendable, if as expected, Jonas Mouton is available after being hurt and missing his rookie season.

--DL Tommie Harris exceeded the Chargers' expectations after being added in Week 3. Got a start during the year and gave the unit a little boost.

--FB Jacob Hester might be a better option of returning than Mike Tolbert, who left for Carolina; he can't run like Tolbert. But he, too, can play on short-yardage downs and does well on special teams. However, the signing of Le'Ron McClain might affect his return.

--OT Tony Moll provided some needed depth during the offensive line's injury siege, but isn't a big priority for next season.

--G Scott Mruczkowski fought through concussion problems last year but is expected to be OK for next season. The team likes his versatility and familiarity with the system.

--FS Paul Oliver hasn't quite developed into the player the Chargers hoped for; destined for a backup role if brought back.

--SS Bob Sanders didn't get past the second game last year and isn't expected to resume his career.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)


--OL Brandyn Dombrowski (tendered at $1.26M with no compensation) had two starts at left tackle last season; lost his spot to Jared Gaither. The team would welcome Dombrowski back in a backup role.


--RB Curtis Brinkley showed some spark in his brief appearances and will likely be back. His stock might rise now that Mike Tolbert signed with Carolina, although they aren't the same kind of backs.

--LS Mike Windt has taken over the role long held by David Binn and is expected to return next season.


--LT Jared Gaither: UFA; 4 yrs, $9M guaranteed.

--DT Antonio Garay: UFA; terms unknown.

--WR Richard Goodman: ERFA; terms unknown.

--C Nick Hardwick: Potential UFA; $13.5M/3 yrs, $5.25M guranteed.

--TE Randy McMichael: UFA; $2.7M/2 yrs.

--TE Kory Sperry: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.


--S Atari Bigby: UFA Seahawks; $2.5M/2 yrs.

--OLB Jarret Johnson: UFA Ravens; $19M/4 yrs, terms unknown.

--FB Le'Ron McClain: UFA Chiefs; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

--WR Robert Meachem: UFA Saints; $25.9M/4 yrs, $7.5M SB/$5M base guarantee 2013.

--WR Roscoe Parrish: UFA Bills; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--TE Dante Rosario: UFA Broncos; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--WR Eddie Royal: UFA Broncos; $13.5M/3 yrs, $6M guaranteed.

--QB Charlie Whitehurst: UFA Seahawks; $4M/2 yrs, $1M SB.

--LB Demorrio Williams: FA Chiefs; 1 yr, terms unknown.


--LB Everette Brown (released).

--DE Luis Castillo (released).

--LG Kris Dielman (retired).

--SS Steve Gregory: UFA Patriots; $8.5M/3 yrs, $3.35M guaranteed.

--CB Dante Hughes (released).

--WR Vincent Jackson: UFA Buccaneers; $55,555,555M/5 yrs, $26M guaranteed.

--OT Marcus McNeill (released).

--RB Mike Tolbert: UFA Panthers; $10M/4 yrs, $2M SB/$2.7M guaranteed.

--LB Nate Triplett (released).

--QB Billy Volek (released).

--WR Bryan Walters (released).

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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