Yesterday was an absolute whirlwind, wasn't it? Today seems much calmer by comparison, but around the league, things aren't quiet by any means.
The Chargers are in fact in negotiations right now with their top free agents. We know everyone in Chargers-world is anxious to see Free Agent Safety Eric Weddle signed to a long-term deal, and you can be rest assured that AJ Smith has heard each and every one of you. Thanks to everyone's outpouring of support for Weddle, AJ has made signing Weddle his number-one priority; way to go guys!
Okay, yes, I was being a bit sarcastic there, but the truth remains that Weddle (and his agent) have been, and continue to be in negotiations with the Chargers. Those negotiations are expected to heat up today, but signing Weddle to a new contract is absolutely the number-one priority of the Chargers right now. According to Kevin Acee, it is completely possible that Weddle will be signed to a contract by the end of the day. He estimates the new contract would be in the neighborhood of $30 million over 4 years.
Yes, Weddle has been courted by other teams, but with the off-season shortened so drastically, deals have to be done in hours instead of days or weeks. This could work in the Chargers' favor as teams have to work fast and may be unwilling — or unable — to enter into significant negotiations.
While Weddle remains the top priority for the Chargers and their fans alike, he's not the only player earning the Chargers' focus.
Again, according to Acee, Kevin Burnett is asking for a very large deal; one that is too big for the Chargers. But, he's also apparently priced himself out of the market and there aren't any other teams interested in him at his asking price. The Chargers are quite interested in bringing Burnett back, but he'll need to lower his demands before the team can enter into any serious negotiations.
Among the other names of free agents the Chargers would like to sign are: Antwan Barnes, Dante Hughes, Jacques Cesaire and Billy Volek. The team has either already submitted offers to those players, or will be doing so very soon. There apparently won't be much room for negotiating though, the deals offered were more-or-less on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.
The Chargers did talk to each one of their draft picks yesterday, and word is those talks were all "productive". League-wide, there was only one draftee signed yesterday: third-rounder Mason Foster in Tampa Bay (who had been selected two spots after Vincent Brown). Because of the new CBA and the new rookie pay scale structure, both sides are still figuring out all the specifics of new deals. Word is though, rookies will be starting to sign contracts today.
No surprise around these parts, Darren Sproles and Malcom Floyd are expected to be allowed to walk. The Chargers would like to keep them, and they would like to remain Chargers, but other players do have deals on the table from other teams. The Chargers just feel that with everything involved in re-signing both players, it's better for the team to move on without them.
Also worthy of note: Santonio Holmes just signed a 5-year contract with the Jets, worth $50 million and includes $24 million guaranteed. As you recall, this is the same contract that Vincent Jackson had been asking for from the Chargers. Granted, the Jets do like to spend money, albeit sometimes unwisely, but this sets the bar pretty high in Vincent Jackson's favor. He should be able to ask for something in the neighborhood of $70 million over 5-6 years without anyone really scoffing at this point. Unless Jackson has a career year this year for the Chargers and Philip Rivers throws in some of his own money, I just don't see AJ Smith even entertaining that kind of deal.