The San Diego Chargers are already making changes to the roster for next year, and in a big way. The team appears to be cleaning house. This is evident especially by the moves to not resign Vincent Jackson and the talks of several veteran players being asked to restructure contracts to free up salary cap space. It seems that the Chargers are going all in for next season with some risky roster moves. It seems that the team is willing to take a high risk high reward approach to next season. It should make for an interesting off-season. To give you an idea as to just a few of the changes.....
1) San Diego appears prepared to cut tackle Marcus McNeill. Mcneill also held out in 2010 for a better contract. He has twice been selected to the Pro Bowl, but missed time this year due to a neck injury. He has only played in 20 of the 32 games over the last two years. Expect San Diego to move quickly to sign Jared Gaither to be the starting left tackle (a job he excelled at last season).
2) Vincent Jackson, who has been asking for big money for the last two years, is once again a free agent. The Chargers were not interested in giving him that long-term contract for the last two years and it seems the team doesn't want to at this point either. Too many teams are in need of a high caliber receiver, and the list of free agents makes Jackson much easier to replace. In the end, this seems to be a decision that works out well for both parties. Jackson gets his money, and San Diego keeps valuable cap space as they rebuild the roster. There is certainly still a chance that the Chargers resign him, but I think this marriage is done.
3) Turner officially announced that Darrell Stuckey is expected to start at strong safety next year. Goodbye Steve Gregory. Stuckey stood out on special teams and has earned a shot to start. I am excited to see how this kid performs.
4) Several veterans may be asked to restructure their contracts to free up cap space. This list is rumored to include DE Luis Castillo and ILB Takeo Spikes. If either of these two refuse, and San Diego cuts either of them, the Chargers will have some serious holes to fill. Guard Kris Dielman may have the same situation presented to him. It does look like the team expects Dielman to play, but expect the team to look for some insurance either through the draft or free-agency.
Turner and Smith appear to be going all out to make this team a contender again. The only thing that is for certain is that it will be a busy off-season for the Chargers.