5 Free Agency Moves the San Diego Chargers Need to Make
Another disappointing season in San Diego.
It seems that every year around this time, Chargers fans are upset. I think the reason most fans get so annoyed with San Diego is because the expectations for them are very high every season. To tell you the truth, I'd be the first to agree with someone that Norv Turner and A.J. Smith should be gone, but it's not going to happen.
I also see it from the other point of view as well. Injuries have been a huge factor in the last couple of seasons, and that's unfortunate for the team. You can't put that on Norv Turner or A.J. Smith.
What you can put on the two are their poor, poor decision-making. Norv Turner is completely predictable and conservative while coaching. A.J. Smith hasn't landed any top talent in the last six years besides Ryan Mathews.
This all means nothing, though. It will not change at least for another season. So here are some moves that the front office should make in order to restore San Diego as a power in the AFC.
Give Vincent Jackson a Long Term Deal
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This should happen without question. Jackson is young, athletic and works hard. He's shown a huge amount of respect for the Chargers, saying he would love to play for them despite the contract issues he's had with A.J. Smith.
It's time for Spanos to take control of this topic. He's already stated that Jackson is San Diego's first priority this offseason.
Before this year, everyone was saying how Jackson had to go out and prove to the fans and to the staff that he's worth the money. He did his job. Now it's time for Smith and Spanos to do theirs.
It's clear that Jackson is one of Rivers' favorite targets. Why wouldn't he be? He's 6'5'' and has an outstanding leaping ability. If either Jackson or Floyd is taken away from this team, they lose that explosive weapon of having two receivers that can make a play on either side down the field.
Final Thought: Sign Vincent Jackson for five years, $80 million.
Replace Patrick Crayton
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When the Chargers picked up Patrick Crayton from the Cowboys, I was a little worried. He had done close to nothing in Dallas, so why would he break out in San Diego?
I was surely wrong.
In his first season, Crayton exploded in the slot position, opening up big plays down field. He was very reliable for the short pass and on special teams. His season ended short when he broke his wrist in the end zone after a 105 yard game. It was his first touchdown of the season and his last.
In the 2011 draft, the Chargers selected Vincent Brown to bolster the receiving core. I immediately thought he would be decent and play behind Crayton as the fourth receiver.
I was wrong again.
Crayton had one of the most worthless seasons I have ever seen. He never made a big play and was completely unreliable on special teams. His play did not open up the downfield plays which affected Philip Rivers' game.
Smith should've kept Seyi Ajirotutu and Laurent Robinson over Bryan Walters and Patrick Crayton. Here's a chance to redeem himself. He needs to look at another receiver either in the draft or free agency. If a slot receiver is not selected in the draft, he must sign one.
Final Thought: Let Patrick Crayton walk and sign a receiver like Jerome Simpson, Eddie Royal, Anthony Gonzalez or Jerricho Cotchery.
Move on from Mike Tolbert
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In the last two seasons, Mike Tolbert has been used tremendously. To me, he isn't an every-down back. As of now, he is playing behind Ryan Mathews on the depth chart, but not in the game. In critical situations, Tolbert is being used more. It adds to Norv Turner's predictability. On third down and Tolbert is in, most defenses can figure out that it's a pass.
Everything that Tolbert does, Mathews does better. Tolbert doesn't have the explosiveness that Mathews has. The only area that Tolbert really does excel in is special teams. It's already been said that Tolbert will look around at his options, and if he's offered more money than in San Diego, he'll walk.
If the Chargers get into a bidding war for Tolbert, it would be the biggest mistake of the offseason.
Final Thought: Sign a running back like Steve Slaton or Tashard Choice. First option would be to look for a back in the draft, like LaMichael James. He could be the next Darren Sproles.
Sign Laron Landry
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This isn't one where it's "sign a strong safety." This is "sign Laron Landry." He needs to be in a Chargers jersey next season.
Landry is one of the toughest safeties in the league. His talent is amazing, and with him, the Chargers could have two of the best safeties in the league.
Over the last couple of years, San Diego has been searching for a safety to play alongside all pro Eric Weddle. The Bob Sanders idea was a failure, so they ended up back with Steve Gregory. While Gregory is a good player, he is not the best option long-term.
San Diego also needs to bolster their cornerback core because last season was very inconsistent.
Final Thought: San Diego needs to sign Landry. If he costs too much, they should go after James Sanders or Jim Leonhard.
Re-Sign Their Own Free Agents
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By the title, I don't mean all of them, but definitely the ones that are productive. Last season, the Chargers let Kevin Burnett go the Dolphins. Burnett had an amazing year just like he did the season before with San Diego.
This year, they face another giant list of players: Nick Hardwick, Jacob Hester, Antonio Garay, Jared Gaither, etc.
A.J. Smith likes saying that every player is only a Charger one year at a time. It's probably one of the reasons why San Diego keeps having terrible seasons.
It's time for Smith to be smart. His job is definitely on the line this year, and San Diego fans are very close to the edge. A big splash in free agency, as well as keeping the ones needed, is the first thing on the clipboard on the way to Super Bowl 47.