Justin K. Aller
This is the most important offseason of Danario Alexander's life. Will he end up back with the team he played for successfully in 2012?
Danario Alexander should have never been a San Diego Charger. Heading into the season, Chargers fans were excited about the depth at Wide Receiver that was meant to offset the loss of a superstar in Vincent Jackson.
Robert Meachem, Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal, Micheal Spurlock, and Richard Goodman. Chargers fans were excited about this group headed into the season. Then, Spurlock was cut before the season started after Vincent Brown had broken his foot in a preseason game. Richard Goodman didn't last all that long before landing on IR himself, and Eddie Royal struggled to get healthy all season.
This is a Chargers passing offense that centers heavily around Antonio Gates. There really only needs to be 2-3 healthy WRs because the team will never run a "spread" formation with 4 or 5 WRs. They team could probably survive with Meachem, Floyd, and a hobbling Royal. At least, they could if Meachem was performing at even an "average" level, which he was not.
The panic button was hit, more by Norv Turner than A.J. Smith, when Danario Alexander was signed off the street. Norv was tired of Meachem, and wanted a tall receiver that would fight for balls. It didn't matter that the guy was unproven or had entered the league with bad knees (that never really got any better). It didn't matter than Philip Rivers had no idea who he was. One of the two epic free agent failures for the 2012 Chargers was sent to the bench, with his replacement being a guy that nobody knew.
In 10 games with the Chargers, working on a one-year contract, Alexander was the team's best receiver. He started 7 games and had 3 outstanding performances (against the Buccaneers, Broncos and Steelers). Not many doubt that he has the talent to live up to a new contract with the Chargers, but there is plenty of reasons to doubt that he'd be healthy enough to be worth a long-term investment.
The Chargers are switching to a new offensive system of sorts this offseason, but it is one where big, strong players have succeeded (Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker). If I had to bet, I'd think that Alexander would end up signing a one-year "prove you can stay healthy" contract this offseason, but as a free agent he has the right to do that anywhere in the league. It would be silly to think that the Cleveland Browns, with Norv Turner as their Offensive Coordinator and not much in the way of Wide Receivers, wouldn't be interested.
The obvious answer to the question "Should the Chargers want Danario Alexander back in 2013?" is "Yes, for the right price". The real question is will he be back, and why or why not.
UPDATE: I'm still an idiot. DAX is a Restricted Free Agent. He'll be back.