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San Diego Chargers Roster: Who Stays in 2012?

Will Randy McMichael make the cut?  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Will Randy McMichael make the cut? (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
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Obviously, there are going to be massive changes to the San Diego Chargers in the offseason. A new Head Coach and coaching staff is where it will most likely start, and rumors of a new training staff are getting louder each week. Nobody is safe, including the players. So, let's take a look at the roster and see which guys might be playing their last season in San Diego.


Philip Rivers
Billy Volek

Rivers is signed through 2015 and is going to be here. It will take more than one bad season for San Diego's front office to give up on him. Volek is still a very good, and relatively cheap, backup QB.

Who stays?: Both of them.

Running Backs
Ryan Mathews
Mike Tolbert
Jacob Hester
Curtis Brinkley
Jordan Todman

The Chargers are incredibly high on Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester, who are both free agents after this season. I feel like they might not keep both. Both are similar players, doing what they are meant to do in the offense well and playing good special teams to boot.

Who stays?: What happens in this group depends on the preference of the new Head Coach. It wouldn't surprise me to see the team let Hester walk (since many offenses barely use FBs) and maybe take a shot at Peyton Hillis before settling for Mike Tolbert. Brinkley and Todman will be in camp for San Diego, but they'll need to stay healthy and perform in the preseason to make the team.


Tight Ends
Antonio Gates
Randy McMichael
Kory Sperry

Like Rivers, Gates is signed through 2015. McMichael is a free agent after this season. Kory Sperry has been solid, but unspectacular as the third TE. He'll get a low tender as an RFA and stick around. I think the team uses a high draft pick (2nd rounder?) on a play-making TE. With all of the issues San Diego has in the red zone, and seeing how the Patriots  and Packers are dominating the league with multiple receiving TEs, it would only make sense. It would also leave the team is less of a bind if Gates gets injured again.

Who stays?: Gates and Sperry.


Wide Receivers
Vincent Jackson
Malcom Floyd
Vincent Brown
Patrick Crayton
Richard Goodman
Bryan Walters

Major, major, major overhaul coming to this group. Floyd can't stay healthy, Jackson will be too expensive for a rebuilding team that needs immediate help on the line, and the rest of the guys have been disappointing (except Brown). This free agent class is so jam-packed with good WRs that they'll end up being relatively cheap.

Who stays?: Vincent Brown is the only one who has played well, has stayed healthy and is signed to a reasonable contract in 2012. I could see him being the only one from this group that returns.


Offensive Line
Marcus McNeill
Kris Dielman
Nick Hardwick
Louis Vasquez
Jeromey Clary
Scott Mruczkowski
Brandyn Dombrowski
Tyronne Green
Tony Moll
Ikechuku Ndukwe
Stephen Schilling

I hate to say this, because he's been one of my favorite players, but I feel like Kris Dielman is done. He has just one year left on his contract, and he just got a concussion so bad that he had a seizure and then couldn't play football again for nearly a year. I know he's only 30, but this feels like it could be an injury that keeps Kris from coming back to football permanently. Purely speculation on my part.

Who stays?: McNeill, Vasquez and Clary are locks.Tyronne Green has another year left and is well liked, he'll be back. Mooch is probably done. The Dombrowski experiment feels like it's over, because Schilling has played well. I'd say, out of this group, McNeill, Vasquez, Clary, Green and Schilling are the only sure ones to return.


Defensive Line
Antonio Garay
Corey Liuget
Luis Castillo
Vaughn Martin
Cam Thomas
Tommie Harris
Jacques Cesaire

I'll have an article tomorrow going into Garay's free agency and what will affect that. Tommie Harris will be a part of that too. Can't see Cesaire coming back.

Who stays?: Liuget, Castillo, Martin, Thomas. Basically, Castillo and the kids. I think Garay or Harris stay, and we'll figure out which one tomorrow.


Shaun Phillips
Travis LaBoy
Larry English
Everette Brown
Donald Butler
Takeo Spikes
Na'il Diggs
Andrew Gachkar
Jonas Mouton
Bront Bird
Antwan Barnes
Stephen Cooper

Phillips is the most important one and he's signed through 2012. Butler and Spikes have played well. Diggs has been a solid backup. Gachkar has been good on special teams and Barnes has been a very good pass-rusher.

Who stays?: Phillips, Butler, Spikes, Gachkar, Mouton, Barnes


Quentin Jammer
Antoine Cason
Marcus Gilchrist
Dante Hughes
Shareece Wright

That's several weeks in a row now where Quentin Jammer has been thrown on successfully. It might be time.

Who stays?: All of them, but Jammer moves to SS. His spot is filled by Gilchrist of a free agent.


Eric Weddle
Steve Gregory
Darrell Stuckey
Paul Oliver

Oliver sure has been playing a lot of Safety, especially considering how well Stuckey has played on special teams. It's odd, is all I'm saying.

Who stays?: The two guys under contract: Weddle and Stuckey. Gregory is such a good fit for the Jets that it's scary.


Special Teams
Nate Kaeding
Nick Novak
Mike Scifres
Mike Windt

The decision between Kaeding and Novak, who are both under contract for 2012, will be a tough one. Novak offers a bit more leg, but Kaeding is more accurate historically.

Who stays?: Windt, Scifres aaaaaaaaand.....let's say Kaeding.


So there you have it. The roster will change in dramatic ways, but some positions (like CB, QB and LB) will remain very similar to what they are now. The holes I left on the team says that the front office will be focused on getting a pass-rusher, a wide receiver and a tight-end towards the top of the draft.