Updates from Wednesday, June 25
Flowers will earn a $1.5 million base salary and a $1.5 million signing bonus for a total of $3 million in guaranteed compensation. Flowers also can earn up to $2 million more in incentives if he plays in 92.5 percent of the defensive snaps and the team reaches the AFC Championship Game, bringing the maximum total value of the contract to $5 million.
Once he signs the deal, Flowers will become the second-highest paid corner on the roster. RookieJason Verrett will make the most this season ($4.48 million), followed by Flowers ($3 million),Brandon Ghee ($875,000), Richard Marshall ($855,000) and Shareece Wright ($645,000).
It’s not often a Pro Bowl player of Brandon Flower’s caliber becomes available late in June.
Thus, General Manager Tom Telesco didn’t let the opportunity to land the standout corner pass the Bolts by, swooping in and agreeing to terms with the veteran today.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com initially reported the news:
Chargers have agreed to terms with CB Brandon Flowers— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) June 24, 2014
Fox Sports 1's Mike Garafolo reported the length of the contract:
It's a one-year deal for Brandon Flowers with the Chargers.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 24, 2014
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport provides more details:
CB Brandon Flowers’ 1-year deal with the #Chargers is worth up to $5M, I’m told. Can prove himself in 2014, cash in again at 29— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 24, 2014
Albert Breer of NFL Network said that the nature of the deal will also benefit Flowers, as he'll become a free agent in his prime at a time when he can maximize his value:
Flowers' deal with San Diego is for one year. Allows him to hit market at 29 years old, with the market/tag figure for CB building quickly.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) June 24, 2014
Pass defense has been one of San Diego's biggest weaknesses over the last few seasons, and things bottomed out in 2013. According to Football Outsiders, the Chargers ranked last in defensive DVOA and second to last in pass defense. Opposing teams averaged 259 yards a game against them, 29th in the league.
The Chargers have had a somewhat quiet offseason so far. They re-signed Richard Marshall and drafted Jason Verrett out of TCU to try to strengthen the secondary, but signing Flowers is by far their biggest move of the last few months. Bleacher Report's Ryan Riddle thought that it helps make up for some of San Diego's stagnation:
The Chargers finally make an offseason move and its a good one, acquiring Brandon Flowers.— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) June 24, 2014
Flowers had visited the Chargers last week, after which head coach Mike McCoy praised the player without tipping his hand too much.
Good signing for the Chargers?
"[General manager Tom Telesco] Tom and I are always looking to improve the football team, but we’re not going to comment on who’s coming, who’s going or things like that," McCoy said, per ESPN.com's Eric D. Williams. "I have a good opinion of who that player (Flowers) is."
A player as good and experienced as Flowers can be hard to come by this late in the offseason. He's somebody who can immediately walk into a starting role in the Chargers secondary.
Pro Football Focus agreed that he regressed a bit in 2013 but before that was one of the better corners in the league:
2013 was a disappointment for Brandon Flowers (-8.7 coverage) but prior to that earned a top 10 coverage grade every year from 09-12.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 24, 2014
With the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs showing few signs of slowing down, San Diego needed to make at least one big move before the regular season to build upon the success of last year's playoff run.
Signing Flowers doesn't make the Chargers a Super Bowl contender, but it will at the very least keep them competitive in the tough AFC West. It will also give Flowers a great opportunity to prove his worth and set himself up for a longer deal after this season.