When the San Diego Chargers found themselves contending for a play-off spot in week 17, the opportunity that new GM Tom Telesco and the team had in year one to label it as a rebuilding year, flew right out the window.
Not many expected this team to contend in the AFC West, let alone a spot in the post-season. They quickly jumped from rebuilding to contending.
And after a victory in the playoffs, the pressure to now exceed last year’s success becomes a bigger task in year two for this regime.
Since the new league year began, Tom Telesco and the Chargers have made a few moves with the limited cap space afforded to them. Bringing back their own free-agents was their top priority.
Re-signing Donald Butler was the first big move the Chargers made, along with bringing back Chad Rinehart.
The announcement of Nick Hardwick returning after speculation of his possible retirement was also big news for the Chargers, as it guarantees the five starters on the offensive line will be returning next year.
The Chargers released Derek Cox, one year after signing a four-year deal.
Johnny Patrick was also cut, which made the hole in the defensive secondary a little more glaring. But with very little money to spend, and a focus on keeping their own players, the Chargers choose not to pursue any of the major CBs available this year.
The addition of Donald Brown was the first player the team signed outside of this organization. Bringing in another running back to add to the dynamic runners the Chargers already have in Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead could mean the offense plans on featuring the run more next season.
The team also added other players, Brandon Ghee and Kavell Conner, who won’t be asked to start, but have value as depth. David Johnson will probably be competing for a spot as the team’s blocking tight end or full-back replacement, after the team released Le’Ron McClain.
The Chargers were able to bring back special teams captain Darrell Stuckey, along with Reggie Walker and Richard Marshall, but lost defensive tackle Cam Thomas and Charlie Whitehurst, who followed Ken Whisenhunt to Tennessee.
However, after signing Kellen Clemens, the Chargers might have upgraded in some degree, with Clemens more than capable of filling in if Philip Rivers were to go down due to injury.
The Chargers did restructure a few deals this off-season, with Eddie Royal, Jarrett Johnson, and Dwight Freeney all agreeing to pay-cuts.
With a little over $3.7 million left in cap-space, it looks as though the seven picks the San Diego Chargers have in this year’s draft will be the only other moves the team makes, after no compensatory picks were awarded to them.
Faced with very similar issues last year in terms of having limited cap-space and only seven picks in the draft, Tom Telesco and this regime found themselves celebrating a successful first season.
Now, with year two under way, the same type of maneuvering has taken place, but only time will tell how successful this team will be with the moves made this off-season.
The draft is still over a month away, and this team’s roster is still not entirely done being built for the coming season.
But if we can take away anything from last year’s off-season, it’s that Tom Telesco won't hesitate to make a move that will contribute to the future success of this team.