Should the San Diego Chargers Trade for WR Steve Smith?

This morning I was reading through Joel Thorman's post about which NFL trades should happen once trades are once again legal. I was shocked at how much he and I were in agreement about each one, with two exceptions....

  1. Kyle Orton to the Dolphins. I don't like this trade because I think Chad Henne is a heck of a QB. Heck, even Football Outsiders has been tweeting in recent months that Henne's career has been very similar to Drew Brees' up to this point. He could be ready to finally realize his full potential, and I wouldn't want to bench him. Just my two cents. I think Orton belongs on the 49ers, Bengals, Bills or Redskins.
  2. Steve Smith to the Chargers. It's not that I don't like the idea of it, I just think it's so far down on A.J. Smith's priority list that it will never actually happen. However, Joel got me at least a little bit excited about the trade with his final sentence on the matter.....
There's already some chatter about this trade and, if Smith and the Chargers can agree to re-work his contract which calls for $15 million over the next two years, the move would make a lot of sense. 

A re-worked contract? That's brilliant! Why hadn't I thought of that?!?

Stevonne Latrall Smith is from Los Angeles. Not only do the Chargers have a history of taking on players from Southern California, they seemed particularly focused on grabbing some L.A.-natives in this year's draft. I'm not going to say that this is a planned maneuver for easy P.R. if the team decides to move to Los Angeles in the next couple of years, but it also doesn't work against that. Having another L.A. native doesn't hurt.

Here's how the Chargers' depth chart at WR currently looks.

WR1
Vincent Jackson
Patrick Crayton
Legedu Naanee
Seyi Ajirotutu

WR2
Malcom Floyd
Buster Davis
Kelley Washington
Richard Goodman

Not a terrible group, right? Well, let's look at the group when you include just the guys that are under contract with the Chargers for 2011.

 

WR1
Patrick Crayton
Seyi Ajirotutu

WR2
Buster Davis
Richard Goodman

Hmmmm, that looks different. Let's go to the bullet-points!

  • Crayton is a free agent, and an old one at that, in 2012 also. 
  • Legedu Naanee is probably not being brought back due to an off-the-field incident, and because he'll get better offers elsewhere. 
  • Malcom Floyd has been a asset to the team and Philip Rivers, but is injury-prone and might not be necessary. Also could get better offers elsewhere.
  • All signs point to the team being tired of waiting for Buster Davis to finally get healthy and stay healthy, so he might be released.
  • Kelley Washington was brought in to be a special-teamer, and that's where the team would like to keep him (same thing for Ajirotutu and Goodman as they continue to refine their games). 
  • Jackson says he'll sign the franchise tender offered to him and play, but he could always change his mind/stance. There's also no guarantee that franchise tags will exist under the new CBA, once it's agreed upon.

Do the Chargers need Steve Smith? No. However, if he wants to return to Southern California and basically play any role given to him (he'd be a fantastic #3 WR) for a reduced amount of money.....there's not a ton of reasons for the Chargers to say no to him. He would be a good person to learn from for Goodman and Ajirotutu, and it would get rid of whatever worry the Chargers have about losing Naanee and/or Floyd.

This is the type of move the Chargers typically don't make, so if they don't I will not be surprised. However, the signing of Bob Sanders signifies to me that the team is maybe thinking about going slightly against their long-term philosophy in an attempt to win a Super Bowl before Philip Rivers is past the peak of his career. In that regards, it wouldn't surprise me if they made the trade either (as long as Smith agrees to a reduced contract). I know that I, along with most of Chargers nation, would be alright with it.

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