San Diego Chargers: Latest Salary Cap Breakdown
The offseason is officially underway. Boltheads seem to be undecided as to their expectations under the new regime in San Diego. The one thing we can all agree on is that the roster needs to be revamped.
However, new general manager Tom Telesco hasn't yet revealed his plan. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Telesco hopes to upgrade via the draft. Of course, that's what AJ Smith promised as well. But AJ's draft record from 2007-2009 couldn't offset the defections via free agency.
The one position we know they won't be addressing is quarterback. Even though Philip Rivers has much to prove, his $12,000,000 salary is by far the team's highest. You could argue that the Chargers are even more invested in retaining Rivers than the Jets are their insistence on developing Mark Sanchez. Here's hoping all that commitment worth it.
Here are three facets which the Chargers should prioritize as their focus for this offseason.
1. Offensive Line
AJ Smith's 2009 drafting of Louis Vasquez from Texas Tech was one of his few early-round picks spent on the offensive line. He drafted Marcus McNeill, but he is now retired from football. Sadly, that didn't stop the Chargers from having to pay him $5.2 million in "dead money" last season.
Vasquez may be the best offensive lineman on the team right now, but that's not saying much. Even Kevin Acee isn't sure which direction the team will go with Vasquez. It's no secret that upgrading the offensive line is tops on Tom Telseco's list of priorities. But whether Vasquez is worth a $6 million investment is questionable.
2. Wide Receiver
Robert Meachem turned out to be the Bolts' worst free agent acquisition at wide receiver since David Boston, as just one out of every four passes thrown his way went for first downs. However, Meachem is guaranteed $5 million in 2013.
Eddie Royal looked good once he finally got healthy, catching 7 passes for 100 yards in the final two weeks. However, Micheal Spurlock looked better and will come cheaper. Royal could be jettisoned after just one year.
Vincent Brown should bolster the wide receiving corps, but he will be entering only his second season. There is no question that Malcom Floyd suffered greatly without the attention paid to Vincent Jackson. However, Telesco will have some decisions with the current crop of receivers.
Incidentally, ESPN's Bill Williamson suggested that Danario Alexander will probably be back in San Diego this year. He was by far the best receiver on the team, but has an injury history from his days in St. Louis. He is currently a restricted free agent.
Fans are definitely split as to how bad they think Antoine Cason is. Everyone agrees that he's been a big disappointment, but whether the "bust" label is warranted is up for debate. He might be a bargain for another team to sign but, like Vasquez, he would require about $5 million to retain.
There is no question that Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright are both unproven and coming off an injury-riddled season, respectively. While the argument could be made that Vasquez is on his way up, Cason, 26, is hardly peaking. Telesco may very well need to upgrade the defensive backfield with players not currently on the roster.
The Chargers are in good shape against the cap, but how they proceed with these few key spots will trigger their decisions as the draft approaches.