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Recently, I was reading this article about how excited the team is about Melvin Ingram and it got me thinking. You have a promising young rookie coming into the team this year who is a high draft and the team will probably look to find him a starting role as 2013. The current starters are Jarret Johnson and Shaun Phillips.
Johnson is the picture of health. From 2007-2011 he hasn't missed a single start. He hasn't missed a game since his first season in the NFL.missed 4 games due to injury last year. In 2007, Shaun signed a 6 year, $31 million contract that runs through the end of this coming season. He'll be paid $4.4M in that final year.
So next year you'd have Johnson working on the second year of his new four year contract. Larry English would be on the last year of his rookie contract and hopefully not coming off another serious injury. And as mentioned there's this promising young stud in Melvin Ingram looking to start. Whereas on the other hand Shaun Phillips will likely test his market value and see if he can get a lucrative final multiyear deal. Now, positionally, Phillips is the only one of those four whop plays weak-side outside linebacker, but I don't think that's a big deal. Ingram could take that over and I assume English will start getting work as a backup at that spot. You also have Antwan Barnes who can play either spot, but will also be a free agent.
Just looking at the this situation it would seem to this writer that the Chargers won't see a multiyear contract with Shaun Phillips as a priority. Much like with Malcom Floyd or Mike Tolbert the Chargers will say they are interested in retaining their longtime presence at OLB, but will wait for the price to drop or him to simply sign elsewhere. It makes sense. Phillips is not irreplaceable, it's not like he's a consistent Pro Bowler. He's a nice complimentary piece and he's experienced. But, he's also getting older and the team probably prefer to spend its dollars on players on the way up and not on the way down. So, he could return if he takes the path of Floyd, but more likely someone will give him some money to help a team desperate for veteran help.