Bill Barnwell over at Grantland has put together a 22-man team comprised of some of the worst contracts in the National Football League. This All-Bad Contract Team unsurprisingly contains a couple names familiar to San Diego Chargers fans and were it not for a particular release this Spring, there would almost definitely be a third. Since the suspense built over those two sentences is likely killing you, I give you the Chargers' contribution to this unfortunate assembly of "talent":
Wide Receiver: Robert Meachem, Chargers
Wide Receiver: Eddie Royal, Chargers
Contract Flaw: System Guy Out of System (Meachem), Paying for the Outlier (Royal)
San Diego's dip into the free-agent market for wideouts last year proved to be disastrous. In 25 games between the two of them, Meachem and Royal produced 37 catches for 441 yards and three touchdowns. Total. Meachem might have looked better in the old San Diego downfield passing attack when it actually gave Philip Rivers time to throw, but Meachem's $14 million guaranteed is basically a sunk cost now. Royal got only $6 million guaranteed and could have a more meaningful role if San Diego moves to a short passing game, but he has to make the roster first.
Okay, so that was actually supremely predictable, but that's just because those contracts were so incredibly bad. It's possible that they won't look as bad this season as they did last season given the creative offensive schemes of Ken Whisenhunt and the willingness of Mike McCoy to work to his players' strengths. Norv Turner, offensive genius, was not known for being particularly creative nor willing to change his philosophy to fit his talent.
A.J. Smith made a few terrible signings last year given whom he had coaching his team, but it's possible that the new regime will make him look just a little less dumb in 2013. Of course, it's also possible that neither of these guys make the active roster on game days, or even make the team at all.
I'm still not sure how you pay for the outlier regarding Royal when that outlier was years in the past the way his was. Usually when a team makes that mistake it's based on a recent season, at least. As far as Meachem, I'm not convinced he's a system player so much as he is an incredibly limited player. Maybe that's splitting hairs, but he didn't suddenly lose the ability to run the three routes he's capable of running.
Anyway, think of this as an opportunity to both dwell on the mistakes of the past while hoping for the best in the future.