Yesterday, in releasing both Anthony Davis and Mario Henderson, the San Diego Chargers made a statement. They believe they can find a Tackle that's better than both of those guys on the open market. It's really too bad that there aren't a ton of those guys out there.
I've settled on this idea. If one backup, Mike Harris, has no experience and is a project, then the other backup should have a decent amount of (recent) starting experience and should be fully-developed. Sound fair? Yes, but (unfortunately) this isn't Narnia.
- Ryan Harris - This one seems somewhat likely. Harris started 34 games at Right Tackle for the Denver Broncos from 2008-2010. I've always viewed him as a solid RT during that time.
- Willie Smith - The 25 year old has 3 career starts, all coming last year as part of the Washington Redskins. They were probably the result of many injuries. Not much to see here.
- Lydon Murtha - What a great name. Murtha started 4 games for the Miami Dolphins in 2010 after the guys in front of him got injured. In 2009 and 2011, he watched from the sidelines.
So, Harris is the obvious choice, right? Starting talent, starting experience in the AFC West, etc. Well, yes and no.
The Broncos didn't release him without good reason. His missed half of 2009 with a major toe injury. He missed all of last season after undergoing back surgery during training camp. He missed most of this training camp and preseason with back pain, similar to Jared Gaither
A backup spot would make it easier to keep Harris healthy, but there's a good chance that he's not healthy right now (when you might need him the most). However, get him healthy and you may have found yourself a great player. It's a gamble that I'm not sure the Chargers want to take right now.
Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the way of good, healthy Offensive Tackles being released yesterday. There's a good chance that the Chargers are going to IR Vincent Brown next week and see what remains. Maybe they're taking a chance that Henderson and/or Anthony Davis is still out there, and they probably will be. Maybe Dr. David Chao likes how Ryan Harris' back looks. Either way, whoever we sign for that fourth Offensive Tackle spot won't be a savior for this offensive line.