Not every single player that has ever played for the Chargers should be a target for the team the second they hit free agency. Often, these players are hitting free agency from another team because that team decided the player wasn't worth the money or roster spot....years after the Chargers decided the same player wasn't worth the money or roster spot.
It seems that the common philosophy is that a player that was once good for the Chargers would be better than anything the Chargers currently have. This philosophy is flawed in the fact that it's untrue, not to mention that time passes and older players are typically better than they were in their prime.
- Quentin Jammer barely got on the field for the Denver Broncos last season
- Antoine Cason lost his starting job in camp and never recovered
- Jacob Hester didn't play in the NFL last season
- Darren Sproles....
Actually, Sproles deserves more than one line.
Do I think Darren Sproles has some value left? Absolutely. Last season he had a Rushing DVOA of 2.7% and a receiving DVOA of 24.1%. As has been the case his entire career, Darren likely thinks he's worth a little more than the team is willing to pay him. Somebody out there that has a lack of offensive weapons (say, the Browns) will sign Sproles to the amount he believes he's worth and he'll help them.
That team will not be the San Diego Chargers. Why? Because Danny Woodhead is better in every single way.
Woodhead is younger than Sproles, has significantly less miles on him, and was a lot better last season (Rush DVOA of 13.6%, Rec DVOA of 41.2%). In addition to that, Woodhead is cheaper! Sproles was set to make $4.25 million next season and probably wouldn't settle for much less than that. Woodhead is set to make $2 million less than Sproles.
Now, for those that think that the only thing better than one Danny Woodhead would be two Danny Woodheads, you are wrong.
- A second Danny Woodhead would sit on the bench a lot.
- A second Danny Woodhead would not help contribute to the balance that helped the Chargers win games last season.
- A second Danny Woodhead would take up a considerable chunk of the remaining salary cap space.
Would I be rooting for Darren Sproles to return to the Chargers if the team had not found a way to replace Sproles? Absolutely, but they have. So, Darren and the other ex-Chargers free agents can go look for a home in one of the 31 other towns that have NFL franchises.
The simple fact that A.J. Smith once drafted these players does not make them more appealing to me, a fan of the long-term success of the Chargers, than any other free agent that is out there. In fact, it probably makes me like them less.