San Diego Chargers: Latest Free-Agency News and Rumors
Free-agency buzz will soon heat up in the next few weeks as the start of the new league year approaches on March 10. At 4 p.m. ET on the dot, all 2014 contracts will expire, allowing teams to court unrestricted free agents.
But if you can't stand the idea of waiting until then to find out who the San Diego Chargers will get, use these rumors to hold you over. Also included are updates on impending free agents still with the team. As you may have already heard, the Chargers took care of one of their own last week.
Read on to find out more.
Bolts Re-Sign Dunlap
Heading into the offseason, King Dunlap was arguably San Diego's top free agent next to Brandon Flowers. On Friday, the team announced it had re-signed the left tackle to a four-year, $28 million deal.
The sixth-year pro was voted Offensive Lineman of the Year by his teammates this past season and was rated the 23rd-best offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus (h/t Rotoworld). Dunlap's return also cements his status as one of the leaders of the O-line, which lost veterans Nick Hardwick and Jeromey Clary to retirement.
Chargers Meet with Agents for Flowers and Mathews at Combine
The agents for cornerback Brandon Flowers and running back Ryan Mathews met with team representatives Saturday in Indianapolis, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Chargers have number of meetings scheduled today with reps of their impending free agents. CB Brandon Flowers and RB Ryan Mathews included.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) February 21, 2015
General manager Tom Telesco brought in Flowers last June on a one-year deal worth $3 million, which he fully validated by his play on the field. The former Pro Bowler broke up 10 passes and made three interceptions, helping the Chargers go from the 29th-ranked pass defense in 2013 to fourth-best a year ago. With Dunlap's deal done, Flowers becomes San Diego's top priority in free agency.
Mathews is wrapping up the fourth and final year of his rookie contract that paid him nearly $2 million in base salary despite playing in only six games last season. Durability will factor into negotiations with the 27-year-old, and the Chargers may not be alone in the pursuit. According to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole, Mathews is at the top of the San Francisco 49ers' list if they're unable to keep Frank Gore.
San Diego a Possible Landing Spot for Harvin If Jets Cut Him
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk lists the Chargers as one of three potential landing spots for receiver Percy Harvin if the New York Jets release him of his bloated contract due to pay out $10.5 million in 2015.
Reports from ESPN.com and The Seattle Times indicate the ex-Seahawk was traded midseason to New York because of confrontations he had within the organization. In five games with the Jets, Harvin totaled 957 all-purpose yards with one touchdown.
While Harvin's behavior serves as an immediate red flag to those interested, he offers San Diego something it has desperately needed the past few seasons—speed. Telesco has said in the past he'd like to add more speed on offense, which Harvin can supply as a receiver or rusher. On top of that, the Chargers would appreciate his return skills, as they ranked toward the bottom last season.
Royal Expected to Re-Sign with Chargers, No Guarantees Though
Impending free agent Eddie Royal is fully expected to re-sign with the Chargers, according to U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken, but he offers no guarantees that it will happen.
The 28-year-old receiver took a $1 million pay cut prior to last season, which aided the team's effort to sign linebacker Donald Butler to his big deal last March. Royal has had good fortune the past two seasons with the Chargers, hauling in 15 touchdown passes compared to the 10 he had in four seasons with the Denver Broncos.
In a must-win game against San Francisco, Royal had 10 catches for 94 yards and a touchdown in Keenan Allen's absence, and his clutch catch on fourth down was a big reason for San Diego winning in overtime.
At the very least, the team should bring Royal back for another year or two. He's the only slot option on San Diego's roster at the moment, and only Antonio Gates has more touchdown catches in the past two seasons (16).
Last Hurrah for Welker in a Chargers Uniform?
There was initial buzz that Broncos receiver Wes Welker was contemplating retirement, but he fully intends to play in 2015, according to reports.
Welker turns 34 in May and was concussed for the third time in a 10-month span this past August. Despite the dangers associated with his long-term health, Welker says he feels good and wants to play. Bleacher Report's Chris Simms lists the Chargers as a potential landing spot for Welker, given the team's need for a slot receiver if Eddie Royal leaves in free agency.
If Welker does go to San Diego, he'll reunite with the organization that first signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2004.