Over the past few weeks two teams have expressed interest in the San Diego Chargers' restricted free agent quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. Both Arizona and Seattle have concerns at quarterback and were looking to Whitehurst as a possible option at the position.
Arizona ultimately signed former Cleveland Brown Derek Anderson as the more proven (and unrestricted) option while Seattle made the deal for Whitehurst.
The Seahawks had to work with the San Diego Chargers to find a mutually beneficial deal. Whitehurst was tagged with the lowest tender, which would have forced the signing team to give up a third-round draft pick for the former Clemson standout, something the Seahawks no longer had available.
Instead Seattle agreed to swap second-round picks with the San Diego Chargers in the 2010 draft, going from 40th overall to 60th. In addition, the Seahawks will give up a 2011 third-round draft pick to the Chargers as a final sweetening to the pot.
By all accounts San Diego came away with quite a value for their third-string quarterback.
The move frees up many options for the team, and they can now assess the draft in a completely different light.
The biggest debate (as with any team) had been what to do in the first two rounds. San Diego has pressing needs at nose tackle and running back, with multiple Pro Bowl talents at both positions cut this offseason.
The most frequent names to pop up into the draft equation have been Ryan Matthews at running back and Terrence Cody at the nose. San Diego would have to choose which they wanted because solid combines for both took away any hopes that one would fall to the late second.
Now the team can hold out hope that one may be able to slip into that 40th slot, netting them both players without any choice.
It also frees up the option to take a chance that Terrance Cody could fall that far, because if he is signed away the team knows North Carolina prospect Cam Thomas (the only other truly solid nose tackle prospect) is all but guaranteed to be available that high.
The team may even pursue a trade to move up in the first round. If it does, it likely means one specific individual is on the team’s mind—Tennessee’s Dan Williams.
If Williams slips past Miami’s No. 12 pick, it would not be a big surprise to see San Diego starting to make a few phone calls.
The underrated move of the deal, however, is securing a third round choice in 2011. By all accounts, swapping a very low second to move eight choices out of the first round should be considered fair value for a third-round tendered third string quarterback with nary a pass in an NFL game.
Yet San Diego managed to worm out additional value that could leave the team loaded in the 2011 draft. They now hold five picks in the first three rounds of next year’s draft, which could very easily include two second-round choices.
That move gives them trade fodder to either move around in the draft order, secure a solid vet or two via trade, or simply stockpile talent from the draft.
No matter how this ultimately plays out, it will have to go down as San Diego’s best move of the offseason so far, and a bit of comfort following the unnerving purge of so many mainstays.
Any value one can get for an expected non-contributor is solid, but what San Diego managed to gain is something of a coup.