Kevin Acee recently did a very interesting analysis of the Chargers' roster, and the possible decisions the front office need to make, broken down by position. To make it more interesting to discuss, instead of grouping the players by position, I list them based on their future status with the Chargers.
Acee has been accused of being a mouthpiece for AJ Smith, which makes his article quite interesting, since Acee doesn't seem to be used for much disinformation. Merriman did not get a long term deal like he predicted, and Vincent Jackson has not gotten his long term deal, so lets analyze the info he sent the Charger fans. I added a few of my personal thought so bear with me.
Likely gone (out of price range)
- Darren Sproles: The Chargers anticipate there will be other teams that will offer more.
- Stephen Cooper: They would like to keep him or Burnett, since Burnett is younger expect him to be priority, the chargers expect Cooper to get a serious offer from Carolina to get together with Ron Rivera. If they can't sign Burnett then Cooper's chances of staying go up.
- Craig "Buster" Davis: I agree with Jim Trotter, staying healthy its not all luck, it can be considered a skill, and Buster just doesn't have the skill to stay healthy.
- Donald Strickland: Same problem as Buster, and Donte Hughes played really well as a slot corner in his place. Plus, Hughes is younger and cheaper.
- Kris Wilson: If the chargers re-sign Randy McMichael, it's very possible Wilson gets cut so Kory Sperry gets more playing time.
Priority Free Agents (They will get solid money offers)
- Eric Weddle: Unlike some ill-informed fans, the Chargers front office has an extremely high opinion of Weddle, and he seems to be highest priority free agent in their class.
- Kevin Burnett: Will have serious competition for his services. Burnett is a Southern California guy and probably would be willing to let the Chargers match any offer for his services.
- Malcom Floyd: It seems the Chargers will make a push to sign him, but they expect competition.
- Brandon Siler: Will get offered starter money elsewhere, will require the same from the Chargers to stay.
- Vincent Jackson will probably be franchised if he can be. If he can't be franchised he will most likely be playing elsewhere.
- Eric Weddle will get tagged, if Vincent Jackson cannot.
Chargers are willing to re-sign at a reasonable price
- Billy Volek: Acee mentions something around 3 years – $9 million, for him to stay. If he doesn't stay here, does Alex Smith sign here?
- Kelley Washington: Has 2 skills that make him interesting to keep, good slot receiver and special teamer.
- Jeromey Clary: Played every single offensive snap and had his best season. The Chargers will make a reasonable offer to keep him, but the team has cheaper options at their disposal: like moving Brandyn Dombrowski or drafting a tackle with one their 5 high picks.
- Randy McMichael: Was the Chargers starter while Gates was hurt and was a productive Tight End, but was not good as a Special Teams player. If he's willing to sign a reasonable deal, there's a good chance he could be back.
- Antwan Barnes: Productive pass rusher, not much of a run defender. That makes him very much a spot player, but he'll be back if the price is reasonable.
- Scott Mruczkowski: Will get offered backup center money.
- Jacques Cesaire: Will get offered backup money, if get offered starter money elsewhere, he will probably leave.
Restricted Free Agents that will be tendered
- Antwan Applewhite: Not a star but a very solid player.
- Legedu Naanee: Played well in final game against Denver, flexible player than can play inside or outside, and brings options as wildcat QB, probably wont get more than 3-4 WR money by other teams.
- Paul Oliver: the fact he is a free agent is mentioned, but the level of interest is not. Since the Chargers want Darrell Stuckey to have more playing time, sounds like Oliver will not be back.
- Mike Tolbert: If I remember right Tolbert is a free agent, and the Chargers have expressed strong interest in having him back in other articles, Acee makes no mention of him in this article.
- Reading between the lines, it sound like they want to sign 2 of 3 ILBs (Siler, Burnett & Cooper), expect Siler and Burnett to be the priority, being the younger of the bunch.
- The Chargers front office is still hopeful for Larry English to have a big 2011, and doesn't sound like the team is in a hurry to bring in a pass–rushing OLB as their first–round pick.
- Expect the first pick to be 5–technique DE, and to be the starter opposite Luis Castillo.
- Will make an offer for Nnamdi Asomugha, but they don't sound optimistic to land his services. If Asomugha would sign, they sound more willing to move Cason to free safety than to move Jammer to Safety. Strange choice, but still unlikely scenario either way.
- Donald Butler was impressive before he tore his Achilles, probably will have him in a position to make an impact in 2011.
- Sounds like the position of choice for the first round pick is 5–technique DE, so lets keep an eye on Cameron Jordan (Cal) and Cameron Heyward (Ohio State) as possible Chargers.
- One of the Chargers' first five picks will be a Safety.