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San Diego Chargers Mailbag: Dwight Freeney!

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I answered some of the megaton of questions sent to me on Friday. Have at it.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What are the weaknesses of English? Are they holding him back from taking that next step? He obviously has to step up for us this year and has not been very productive when on the field. - Senn

Besides staying healthy? He's quick, but not fast. He has strong hands, but he's not strong enough to pull off a bull rush. He can be pretty easily game-planned against, but could make a good second pass-rusher (think Shaun Phillips' position when Shawne Merriman was with the San Diego Chargers) if the first pass-rusher is absolutely dominant.

Given how little money we have remaining under the cap, how is signing Freeney any kind of a possibility? - Nohm

Good question! Okay, here's where we learn about signing bonuses. A team can hand a player a check, called a "signing bonus" in his first season and the impact of that money gets spread over the duration of the contract. Considering the player is getting the cash either way, he doesn't mind if the team balances the cap by giving him a low first-year salary.

Freeney's first year salary is $1.5 million, and he was given a signing bonus of $3.25 million. So, the team was able to guarantee him $4.75 million in 2013, but the cap hit is just $3.125 million. Make sense? Now, because Freeney has bills to pay and can't take a $3.25 million paycut in 2014, his salary jumps up to $3 million next year and his cap hit swells to $5.125, which the team can afford then but not now.

Who do you think will have a greater impact on our offense this year, Mathews or Woodhead? - sdvip

Woodhead. Based on production efficiency, Woodhead was a top 5 Running Back in 2013. McCoy and Whisenhunt will fine ways to get him into those spots again.

if you had to live of of one food and one drink for a whole year, what would it be? - LetsGoChargers2

Cheeseburgers and iced tea.

Do you see Vincent Brown being the #1, #2, or #3 WR? What’s the best position for him? - Nohm

I see Brown as a perfect #2. He's too slow to be a legitimate #1, and I feel like a lot of his skills would be wasted at #3.

Can you explain why it’s been so difficult to get a new stadium, and how much longer the Q will be habitable? From what I’ve heard, San Diego was always a prominent and desirable Super Bowl destination. I’m no numbers guy, but it seems that getting a new stadium and back into the SB rotation would offset the taxpayers grief (then again, its not me paying the proposed taxes). - WesChandler89

I can try, but it really should be made into a post of it's own.

The Super Bowl "rotation" has expanded so much, and will be expanding further based on how the game in New York goes, that building a new stadium in San Diego can only really guarantee 1 Super Bowl and that's simply not enough to offset the costs, especially when money made by the city by tourists isn't going back into the pockets of the residents (who are probably going to be asked to fund about half of the stadium).

That's not to mention that San Diego has been built on so much that there's no real logical place to fit a stadium and a parking lot, much less a downtown-esque area around the stadium that the team keeps demanding.

There's tons and tons of reasons why it hasn't happened, but the real one is that the team didn't feel like it needed to come down from its demands as long as Los Angeles was threatening to take the team away. Not that L.A. has become less of an option and more of a sideshow, expect the real negotiations to begin.

As far as how much longer Qualcomm can be habitable, it depends on your definition. The Oakland Coliseum should've been destroyed years ago. I think we'll see a new stadium open in San Diego in 6 or 7 years.

If Rivers has another bad season (not mediocre, bad) will the Chargers look at a QB in next years draft? It’s not like we’re not in quazi-rebuilding mode. We saw the Colts choose Luck over Peyton (not inferring the colts-telesco connection again) - Ccarl24

Yes. Of course. Rivers' contract was even set up for this possibility. The team can save $13.8 million in cap space by cutting him before next season, and they'll be off the hook for his $15.75 million salary in 2015, as well.

Secondary depth chart? We know Derek Cox has got one side, and weddle at FS. But who takes the other 2? Which rookie/undrafted free agent do you think has the best shot at the starting jobs? - sahmad1

Shareece Wright and Marcus GIlchrist are the favorites. I wouldn't be surprised to see someone challenge Wright for the CB spot, and Marcus Cromartie is an undrafted rookie I'm keeping my eye on. He has all the tools, just needs the right coach and the right mentality this offseason.

Do you think or believe the bolts will change to a 4-3 D? - NYBolts4ever

Yes, to a certain extent. I don't think they're eliminating Manti Te'o's position, but I do think you'll see 4-3 fronts more than 3-4 fronts from the Chargers' defense in 2013.

What, if any, role will we see for Ladarius Green this year? - ChargerDuck

Red zone threat. With his size and hands, there's no reason he shouldn't catch 4-5 TDs this season, which will ease him into the #1 or #2 spot in the next few years.

How many wins is Freeney worth? As opposed to having English as our guy there - Kyle Posey

I'd say at least 3-4 wins in 2013, but the real question is how much better is he than Melvin Ingram. To answer that... I'm not sure.

Who was your favorite Ninja Turtle? - defiancy


Which 2012 Charger, not here anymore, will we miss the most? - koloco9

Louis Vasquez.

How much longer do you think the new regime will stick with guys like Gates and Hardwick? What’s the cap outlook for next year and what notable free agents will be available at positions of need? - :Anabasis:

Like Philip Rivers, the higher-paid veterans will be given 2013 to prove to the new coaching staff that they're worth the money that's been promised to them in 2014 (and beyond). Bad years by Antonio Gates or Nick Hardwick could spell the end of their respective runs in San Diego.

Would you be upset with a 1-15 record if it got us Johnny Football when he is done in college? - LetsGoChargers2

Depends on how good he does in his freshman season.

Are you excited about the Freeney signing? - EVERYONE

Yes. Veteran leadership and a legit pass-rusher for a good price? That's too much to ever pass up. I also like how dramatically he shifts the responsibilities of most in the Chargers' front 7. Should be fun to watch.

Just what should we expect of Vincent Brown? We’ve heard about him before, I again just read on ESPN how he’s supposed to be HUGE for them this year. What type of production are we looking for? What other NFL WR would he most be like at 5’11’ and not known as a burner? - Ccarl24

My go-to comparison is usually Donald Driver, but Brown's a little bigger/stronger than Driver is while not losing anything in the speed department. His production this season depends on if he's the #2, #3 or #4 WR.

How do you feel about the Chargers inability to sign another decent LT, now that Freeney is signed? - ChargerDuck

It is what it is. There will be a good article from Jerome in the next few days that explains why fans shouldn't be worried about the LT situation so much.

How similar are Chuck Pagano's and John Pagano's defensive schemes? - All Charged Up

I haven't studied Chuck's defense, but it seems quite different from what John runs. A bit more aggressive, but I'd like to see what he does in his first full year of coaching without Haloti Ngata.

Do you base some of your opinions off of some sort of "insider information?" I think you alluded to this when you spoke of the type of head coach the Chargers were going to hire. - gtr_donald

Yes. Although, because I'm not there every day, my information is sometimes a little old. I was told "Dean will never hire a Head Coach that doesn't call plays." When I followed up with that person after McCoy was hired and we were told he wouldn't be calling plays, I was told that he changed his mind. It is thought that Ron Wolf, John Spanos and Tom Telesco had something to do with that change of preference.

What happens if a team goes over the cap? - bigpondonly

Technically, it's impossible. Contracts have to be approved by the league office before they're official, and they won't be approved if the team is over the cap.

HOWEVER, there's a rule somewhere that states the team has 7 days after going over the cap to cut their way back under. The player is not an official part of the team until that is done, but they are obligated to wait the 7 days until they can sign another contract with another team. Make sense?

Oh, also....there are some teams that have figured out sneaky ways to get around this and go over the cap. They have been penalized draft picks for doing so.

Given the current state of needing to be a decently mobile QB in the NFL now a days, why haven’t coaches and PR made an effort to make Rivers slightly more mobile considering he might be one of or the least mobile QBs in the league.. Its not like he is fat or can’t run? Why wouldn't coaches make him practice one of his biggest flaws? - Bolt Up Breh

He may not be fat, but Philip Rivers has plenty of knee troubles (dating back to high school, but including the torn ACL). So, while he may not appear fat, there's nothing the coaching staff can do to turn Rivers into Russell Wilson.

Also, if you needed to be a decently-mobile QB in the NFL now-a-days, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady wouldn't exist.