San Diego Chargers' Future: Bearish Or Bullish?

Dave HoganContributor IIJanuary 19, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Running back Darren Sproles #43 of the San Diego Chargers walks back to the field after halftime in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

As the Dust settles on another season that fizzled, it is time to move on and forget about the abyss that was Sunday's divisional debacle.

Norv Turner and A.J Smith have renewed their vows for the next three years, so at least for 2010—it is also a waste of energy to long for a Coaching and/or Managment change.

Moving forward, this underachieving team with ample talent has the majority of tools in place for another winning campaign.  The question is who should stay and who should go?

Antonio Gates and Phillip Rivers are both returning to spearhead the offense.  It looks like Ladainan Tomlinson has played his last game as a Charger.

The intrigue comes in with unrestricted free agents.  According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill, Shawne Merriman, and Darren Sproles will fall into the restricted category if the Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA) is not renewed.

Marcus McNeill has done a good job on the blind side and should be brought back in my opinion. With the others, A.J will evaluate and (hopefully along with Turner), place a draft round tender(draft pick rounds 1-3) on each of these players.  If the players sign with another team the Chargers are entitled to consideration in the form of future Draft Picks.

Sprole's Magic may be wearing off, but he is still worthy of returning and is still an exciting player. Bring in two everydown backs(preferably a rookie to get some excitement back in the run game), and a proven veteran.

Until Sunday, It may have been a  crazy move to get rid of Vincent Jackson.  His latest antics on the day of a playoff game no less are entirely unacceptable. A change of scenery (to a city with better public transportation so he can get to the park without being arrested), would be good for him and benefit the Chargers with a future high round draft pick.

Phillip Rivers is a talented quarterback who can have success with a variety of wide receivers.  They don't all have to be former basketball players. A true deep threat, coupled with Floyd and another possession type wider receiver would be a nice change.

Another Diva on D, Shawn Merriman can take a hike. Hard to see that Antonio Cromartie is salvageable and there is definitely a need for him in Arizona, where he could play with his hyphenated cousin and practice non-tackling defense together.  Perhaps the Chargers could make a deal.

This team does not lack characters but lacks character.  Ron Rivera has proven he can coach a defense with no names.  It would be nice for a change to read the stats page on the Sports page, instead of the police blotter stats.   Besides, the DA has more important things to do every Monday then to determine which Charger to extract from the practice facility film room for review of the bar security tape.

The Market is Bullish if the Chargers shore up the Defense and fill some very manageable gaps on offense.  The future is bleak if team management does not wake up and institute some controls and send a strong message with the departure of infantile players.  Otherwise this team is in real danger of becoming Cincinnati West.