San Diego Chargers Free Agency: Who Will Be Coming, Going and Staying
Coming into the offseason, the San Diego Chargers' main goal was upgrading the depth on their roster. They were once considered to have the most talent and deepest roster in the NFL, but several key contributors have left San Diego over last few years.
And the front office will again have to make several key personnel decisions that will determine if the team is going to contend for another AFC West Divisional title, as 28 current Chargers are eligible to become free agents once the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is resolved.
1) RB/KR Darren Sproles
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It appears Darren Sproles has played his last game in a Charger uniform, as his price tag is getting far too expensive for the dwindling results on the field. The Chargers overpaid by placing the franchise tag on Sproles during the whole LT contract fiasco. Don’t be surprised if you start hearing rumors of Reggie Bush returning home as his replacement.
2) WR Vincent Jackson
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For at least one more season, Vincent Jackson will be playing football in San Diego exclusively, as the Chargers placed the franchise tag on him for the 2011 season. He is a Pro Bowl-caliber wideout that can dominate a game with his play. The only way Jackson stays in San Diego long term if he comes down in price…this will become a wait-and-see-game between the front office and the player.
3) WR Steve Smith
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Steve Smith wants out of Carolina and reportedly has asked to be traded to a West Coast team.
How serious are his intentions? Well, he has cleaned out his locker at the Panthers facility and sold his residence in the Carolina area. Smith would be the perfect compliment receiver across from Vincent Jackson and offer another clutch playmaker for Philip Rivers to throw to downfield.
4) LB Stephen Cooper
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Stephen Cooper is the captain of the defense, as he calls all of the defensive signals on the field. He will receive offers from other teams and could become too expensive to resign. Personally, I think it will be difficult to replace Cooper, and GM A.J. Smith's chief goal should be getting him back into the fold for 2011.
5) WR Malcolm Floyd
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Last season, Malcolm Floyd was supposed to step up with increased playing time due to the Vincent Jackson's holdout, but he struggled to stay healthy all season long. Unfortunately, he isn’t even the third option in the Charger high-power passing game, but Floyd is a tall, big option for Philip Rivers in the red zone. Being slowed by injuries has hurt his chances of obtaining a big contract via free agency.
6) S Eric Weddle
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Resigning Eric Weddle has become the No. 1 priority of the Chargers front office, as finding a viable replacement will be difficult. They drafted S Marcus Gilchrist, who scouts have projected to be between a project to a solid contributor.
7) RT Jeromey Clary
Jeromey Clary has been San Diego’s whipping boy for the last several seasons due to his poor play. He is a strong run blocker that has limited range on his pass-blocking technique, and it's still a toss-up if Clary will be resigned by the Chargers.