Free Agent Cornerbacks (Pre-Franchise Tags)

Scott Cunningham

The San Diego Chargers are looking to add at least one Cornerback via free agency. Which players are available?

As I've mentioned before, I don't really like talking about the NFL Draft until we're at least a few weeks into free agency. Too many things change about teams' positions of need during free agency that you don't even know which position group to be focusing on until the signings slow down.

In that same regard, I don't love discussing free agents before teams start re-signing and franchising their own players, but we're going to do it anyway because it's better than nothing.

San Diego Chargers' Positions of Need

  • Cornerback
  • Offensive Guard
  • Offensive Tackle
  • Strong Safety
  • Inside Linebacker
  • Wide Receiver

That's probably the order I'd put them in, in terms of importance, although I guess Strong Safety could be moved up depending on Bigby's recovery. Anyway, let's start by looking at the Cornerbacks.

Cornerbacks

Even if you're not trading for Darrelle Revis, there's lots to like in this year's crop of free agent Corners.

  • Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers (RFA) - Included because people keep throwing his name at me. As much as I like Shields, he's a Restricted Free Agent and the Packers are aware of how heavily their defense relies on him. He's not going anywhere.
  • Aqib Talib, New England Patriots - The Patriots have a history of being able to easily retain any players that they sign or trade for. I guess it's hard to go play for another franchise once you've experienced The Patriot Way. If Talib, who New England traded for this season and Tampa Bay wanted to part with because of an off-the-field (gun) issue, hits the market, he'd be a great fit in Pagano's defense that requires a lot of man coverage.
  • Tracy Porter, Denver Broncos - With Mike McCoy and Ron Milus now working at Chargers Park, it would be a good sign if Porter landed in San Diego because it would mean that they know him to be a good player and a good locker room presence. That being said, I don't really view Porter (or anyone on the Chargers' roster) as a #1 CB.
  • Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason, Chris Carr - These guys were on the 2012 San Diego Chargers roster but become free agents in March. Carr never got a chance to do anything, Cason was often overmatched as the #2 CB and Jammer is done playing on the outside.
  • Brent Grimes, Atlanta Falcons - I've been hyping up Grimes for a few months now. Similar to Darrelle Revis, Grimes was spectacular in 2011 (ProFootballFocus has Revis and Grimes as the #1 and #2 CB that season, respectively) and missed almost all of the 2012 season with an ACL injury. Unlike Revis, the Chargers wouldn't have to get up draft picks to add Grimes as the team's #1 CB.
  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Philadelphia Eagles - DRC is a bit risky. He started off his career as one of the best CBs in the league, then had one of the worst seasons a starting CB has ever had before being traded to the Eagles (where he's been terrible and misused). Does he still have the talent and potential? Probably. Wouldn't be a terrible gamble for the #2 CB spot, but probably shouldn't be given the #1 spot.

There's probably very little chance that the San Diego Chargers grab two guys from that list to fill the shoes of Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason. Quite honestly, they probably don't need to. Shareece Wright seems ready to play the #2 CB spot (as long as he can stay healthy) and Marcus Gilchrist does a fine job as the Nickel CB. If the team were to pick up a Brent Grimes or Aqib Talib in free agency, they'd arguably be done adding to what might be the biggest hole on the roster.

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