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Taking a Peek at the Chargers in 2010

I know its 2009 and the team has plenty of holes to fill this offseason but next offseason will be an important one for the Chargers.  With the prospect of teams not having salary cap to deal with and the Chargers at somewhat of a financial disadvantage by having an out dated stadium that lacks revenue streams from luxury boxes as well as other amenities the Chargers are going to have to try and re-sign or replace seven of their best players.   Assuming there is a CBA in place, after this season Phillip Rivers, Shawne Merriman, Marcus McNeill, Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers, Kassim Osgood, and Brandon Manumaleuna will all be free agents along with Tim Dobbins and Charlie Whitehurst.

I think it is pretty clear that Dobbins and Whitehurst will probably have to find new homes after the 2009 season, both can probably be replaced on the cheap by late round draft picks or in house options.  The real question is who of the big seven will the Chargers try and replace and who will they try to re-sign?    

Phillip Rivers - I think Rivers is probably a lock to re-sign with the team, franchise QB’s don’t grow on trees so when you have one you don’t let them slip away (unless you are the Broncos).  I think the Chargers will get a deal done with rivers before the start of the 2009 season.

Shawne Merriman  - I also think Merriman is a lock to re-sign, last offseason it sounded like the Chargers were flirting with the idea of trading him this off season or just letting him walk when his contract expires but as we all saw last season the defense is just not the same without him.  If the Chargers want to remain one of the top teams in the AFC I think they will have to get a deal done with Merriman.

Marcus McNeill – I think that re-signing McNeill hinges on a few factors: 1.) Who the Chargers use their first round pick on in the 2009 Draft, if one of the big four tackles in this years draft falls to the Chargers at number 16 then I think it will give the bolts a little bit of breathing room in negotiating with McNeill.  2.) 2009 performances, if McNeill is healthy and returns to his rookie form then I think he will be a lock to be re-signed, like franchise QB’s franchise LT’s don’t grow on trees and when you have a good one you don’t let them get away.  3.) How much the team has to spend on Rivers and Merriman, If the team has to give up the farm to re-sign their two best players then I’m not sure how much money will be left for McNeill.

Vincent Jackson – Jackson is a tough one he has definitely grown a lot in the past four seasons and has shown flashes of being one of the best wideouts in the NFL but he still remains rather inconsistent and has had off the field issues.  I also think that Jackson will want top dollar and will play the market to try and get it, all and all I just see too many issues surrounding a contract extension and the Chargers have too much depth at his position to want to deal with it so don’t think we will see Jackson wearing blue and gold in 2010.   I also think that if Jackson has another strong year in 2009 the chargers will use their franchise tag on him (if they don’t have to use it on McNeill or Merriman) and try to trade him for draft picks.

Chris Chambers – Chambers still seems like he can be a very productive WR in the NFL and provides the team with great veteran leadership but for some reason he seemed to disappear towards the end of last season and I’m really not sure why.   Unless Chambers has a big year this season I don’t think he will have outrageous contract demands and I think he will work out a moderate 2 year deal with the club and retire in our beautiful city.

Kassim Osgood – Kassim is not happy with his role with the Chargers and is counting down the days until he is free to pursue other opportunities.  If Kassim is not traded this offseason then I certainly think 2009 will be his last year in San Diego.

Brandon Manumaleuna – Manumaleuna has definitely proven himself as an important role player on this team.  I don’t think he will demand crazy money and I actually think they will get a contract extension done before the beginning of the 09 season but then again who knows is he thinks he can be a starting TE somewhere.

Well there you have it of the big seven I think at least four and probably five will be with the bolts in 2010 and beyond.  In the next couple of weeks I will start to take a look at what it will take to sign these guys and try to see where it will put the Chargers financially.