SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 19: Kassim Osgood #81 of the Jacksonville Jaguars on the sidelines against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 19 2010 in San Diego California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
I love Kassim Osgood as a player. Had he signed a long-term deal with the Chargers last offseason, I would most certainly own an Osgood jersey. He was a nice guy, had a superstar's personality, was a leader, played smart, played hard and was undeniably one of the most valuable weapons the Chargers had before 2010. The problem was that Kassim didn't want to be Steve Tasker, he wanted to be Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson or maybe even Legedu Naanee.
The Chargers, and Norv, to their credit did not want to lie to Kassim. They were not going to promise him a starting spot when they felt he was their 5th or 6th best WR. He went to a team that would promise him that starting spot, even though they had never really seen him play WR at a professional level, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Even in training camp there were reports that the Jaguars were underwhelmed by Osgood's hands (the main reason he was not one of the Chargers top WRs). Things started looking like they were going Kassim's way when he made the game-winning TD catch against the Denver Broncos in Week 1 of the regular season, but it was only a few weeks after that when Osgood was moved from the category of "viable WR" to "run-blocking WR/3rd TE" for the Jags.
KO caught only 5 more passes after that game-winning 24-yard TD rec, none of them for points and none of them matching the yardage of that first catch. If you were to ask him, because he's a team player, I'm sure he would say it was worth it to leave to "Have a chance to prove himself as a WR". The truth is, he had that chance in San Diego too.
The 2010 season was his best as a WR since 2004, but his third best overall. In his first two seasons with the Bolts, he caught 28 passes for 586 yards and 4 TDs. He had been given a chance, showed off his skills (speed, strength, height) and had also showed off his biggest flaw (bad hands). The Chargers chose to keep KO around for as long as they could, utilizing his skills and crafting him into one of the league's best Special Teams players.
So, since the Chargers have stated that they offered Osgood more money but that he chose the Jags to play WR.....what if he had stayed? What if he knew that Jags wouldn't give him a real chance, or if he just decided he couldn't possibly leave San Diego? Well, for one, the Special Teams unit would probably be better. From 2009 to 2010, the Chargers dropped in Football Outsiders' Special Teams rankings from 16th to 32nd. Coincidentally, the Jaguars bounced from 25th up to 7th best in the league.
Osgood wasn't just the best kick and punt return guy on the Chargers, and maybe in the history of the Chargers. He was the Special Teams captain, who saw things happening before the ball was snapped and made sure everybody was in the right position to make a play. To lose him to free agency is like losing Philip Rivers, and then expecting the offense to be okay. So while I won't go so far as to say that the Special Teams unit would've been flawless with him in Chargers blue, I think his presence could've accounted for one or two more victories over the course of the regular season....which is all the Bolts needed.