The San Diego Chargers have an above average unit both on offense and defense as they were #1 in both areas. That being said, San Diego does possess several positions that could and should be upgraded before next season. Whether they address these areas in free agency or the draft, General Manager A.J. Smith will be busy this off-season.
A.J. should assess San Diego's own free agents before looking into any other additions, but once that has been done, here are some moves San Diego could look in to.
Can San Diego be the team that finally takes Takeo to his first playoff game? That is what I hope Takeo Spikes and A.J. Smith are pondering. Spikes is a well-known veteran and a Pro-Bowl linebacker that still produces at a high level. Spikes has finally been consistently healthy as he played in 47 out of a possible 48 games the last three years and would be an upgrade at linebacker for San Diego.
I expect only one of Stephen Cooper or Kevin Burnett to be back next year and whoever A.J. Smith decides not to bring back would be replaced by Takeo Spikes. Both Cooper and Burnett are more of coverage linebackers while Spikes is a hard-nosed run stopper.
Not to mention adding Takeo Spikes will re-unite him with his former Defensive Coordinator in San Fransisco, Greg Manusky.
If the Chargers make the move to sign Nnamdi, their secondary easily becomes one of the best in the NFL. It also creates more opportunities for the Chargers to blitz the quarterback and create turnovers with Manusky's aggressive defensive style.
Quentin Jammer could make the transition to strong safety quite easily. He is a great open-field tackler, a hard hitter and is still exceptional at reading the QB's eyes on pass plays. Speed declines with age and that becomes a huge disadvantage for a cornerback. But when Jammer moves to safety, he doesn't need to rely on speed so much as knowledge and tackling. Weddle and Jammer would make up one of the best safety tandems in all of football.
Adding Asomugha upgrades the Chargers at two positions: cornerback and strong safety. Not to mention it gives Antoine Cason a player to learn from and continue to grow in the CB position.
Will San Diego spend the cash to sign Nnamdi? Probably not. Though if it were to happen it would be a huge pickup for the Chargers.
This off-season, the former USC receiver Steve Smith should make his return to southern California. Smith would be a great addition to an already potent offense in San Diego. The Chargers have been without a good slot receiver for some time now and with this signing, Rivers would finally have his "Wes Welker" type of a receiver.
The Chargers might be losing both Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd this off-season. If San Diego does in deed lose both of Rivers top weapons, A.J. Smith will need to sign Smith to give him a proven receiver. Some think it will be difficult to pry Smith away from New York, but maybe Smith thinks that he will be overshadowed by Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham and leave to come back to Cali.
Steve Smith needs to be in a Charger uniform next season, plain and simple.
Out of all of the players on this list, Breaston seems like the most likely to be signed by San Diego. Breaston is a free agent and is not likely to return to Arizona. Breaston played in 13 games last season and gained 718 yards receiving. He lined up opposite from Fitzgerald and had a decent year despite having a sub-par QB.
Breaston is listed at 6'1" 178 lbs and would fit in great with San Diego's offense. He's a speed receiver that can stretch the field and be another deep threat for Rivers. Breaston has proven himself in the NFL and is hungry to get back to the Super Bowl and that is exactly the type of player San Diego needs on their roster.
This is the type of player A.J. would go after. Breaston will not only help in the passing game but he is also an above average return man. San Diego will end up cutting Buster Davis at some point and possibly won't re-sign Legedu Naanee so signing Breaston is a logical move and not an expensive one at that.
Another off-season and DeAngelo Williams' name gets thrown into a San Diego Chargers article. Last season it was due to a trade rumor where he would have been sent to San Diego for Antonio Cromartie, but such a deal did not happen.
This off-season it is because Williams is one of the most talented running backs available and the Chargers look to be losing Darren Sproles. The Chargers would be making a huge upgrade from Sproles to Williams should they make this signing.
Carolina looks like they will not make an effort to re-sign him as they have Jonathon Stewart and Mike Goodson who can carry the running game. The other possible teams that Williams might be interested in are the: Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, and the New England Patriots.
A.J. should at least look into seeing what it would take to sign DeAngelo because if he finds a reasonable price, the duo of Williams and Mathews would be lethal.
Vincent "Action" Jackson is a free agent this off-season. The Chargers should do one of two things. They should either sign him to the long-term deal that he no doubt deserves, or they should place the franchise tag on him and look to trade him for draft picks.
A trade similar to that of this one would be the Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins trade. The Broncos dealt WR Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins for their 2010 2nd round pick and their 2011 2nd round pick. Marshall was coming off of a fantastic 2009 season where he eclipsed the 100 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns marks.
Jackson is a Pro-Bowl receiver that will be wanted and asked about this off-season. Should A.J. Smith give up on trying to reach a long-term deal with him, then it will be time to cut the ties and try to receive whatever they can for him. Jackson is definitely worth the same package Marshall brought back for the Broncos and San Diego could use the draft picks.
One of the teams interested in Vincent Jackson could be the Chicago Bears. Their receiving core is extremely weak after Johnny Knox and improvements should be made to get Jay Cutler a true number one receiver. Knox is a very good receiver don't get me wrong, but he is no Vincent Jackson.
Devin Hester's value is at a high. He is easily the best return man in today's game and the best in NFL history. Why teams even give him a chance to take one back on them baffles me, but as long as they do, he is a threat to score a touchdown as soon as he fields the ball. Though he has great value as a returner, he is a mediocre wide receiver and is not one of the main targets in the Bears' offense.
The Bears should pull the trigger on a deal like this. The Bears have other options in the return game to replace Hester but there are no other Vincent Jackson types available.
After acquiring Hester, San Diego would then have more depth at the WR position and also a beast return man that can change a game at any moment. Returns were an area of weakness for the Bolts last season, but with Hester there would be no worries. The Chargers could then shift their focus on re-signing Malcom Floyd and key components of the defense.
With the draft picks, the Chargers could look to add help to their secondary this year or move up in the draft to nab a player they really like.