It seemed like a done deal earlier when Wide Receiver Eddie Royal came to San Diego for a physical, but the possibility still remained that someone else — like the Washington Redskins — could swoop in and steal him away. You know, kind of what the Chargers did to the Bills with Robert Meachem.
That's not an issue as the Chargers and Eddie Royal have reached an agreement on a three year contract, worth $13.5 million, with $6 million guaranteed. No word on a signing bonus, so assuming there isn't one, Royal's contract takes a $4.5 million chunk out of the Chargers cap room. So Royal's $4.5 million per year, coupled with Meachem's $6.5 million per year, adds up to the $11 million per year that Vincent Jackson was estimated to make if he stayed with the Chargers.
Royal may be listed as a Wide Receiver, but that's historically not been his biggest strength. He'll be a huge asset in the return game as he is ranked 3rd in the NFL in average Punt Return yards over the 5 years he's been in the NFL. And in 2010, he did rank 3rd among all Wide Receivers in yards after catch. You'll remember Royal as the receiver who scored the winning touchdown — and subsequent two-point conversion — in the infamous "Hochuli Bowl" in Denver in 2008. Then in 2009 he returned both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns at Qualcomm Stadium, helping the Broncos to again defeat the Chargers.
He may not have thrived as a receiver in Denver, but given their constant QB flux, it's kind of hard to blame him for not finding success. He just might find success here in San Diego under Norv Turner's tutelage and catching passes from Philip Rivers. One potential improvement in the passing game with replacing Vincent Jackson with two receivers means now there's a less obvious number one threat. With all the receivers on the team now having different strengths, this could genuinely open up the passing game. He should also help the Chargers Special Teams improve as they'll have their hands full trying to cover him in practice.
Or I could be completely wrong and we now just have a return specialist.