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Top 25 Free Agents the San Diego Chargers Should Sign (25-21)

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Kevin Grauel & Kyle Posey look at a list of 25 players that would contribute to the Chargers.

Jody Gomez-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agency starts in a little under 2 months and the Chargers have an estimated $26.3 million to spend. That's before they cut/extend players to create more cap space. This has the makings to be an exciting period for fans and a chance for the Chargers to add some depth, some good players, and possibly an impact player. I teamed up with BFTB's Kevin Grauel and we came up with a list of 25 guys that we feel would be ideal signings for the team.

Factors

First off, we understand that there will be disagreements and that's fine. We welcome it and that's what will make this fun. We used several factors to finalize the list from how good the player is independent to his surroundings, to how old the player is, to what his contract would be, to how much of an impact he would make and how he fits as a Charger. There were several factors that went into this. Also, while there will be a big name or two on our list, don't expect to see Justin Houston or Dez Bryant on here. We figured their respective teams would place the franchise tag on them. So without further ado, let's get into the first 5.

25. C.J. Spiller

Why Sign Him

Danny Woodhead is 29 and coming off a season-ending injury. There's no guaranteed he comes back and is the same player. The Chargers offense suffered without a real threat out of the backfield. Spiller is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. In 2013, Spiller has the highest percentage of runs that went for 15 or more yards. Like Woodhead, Spiller can consistently make the 1st man miss. In 2012, Spiller had far and away forced the most missed tackles on a play by play basis. He'd be an upgrade on passing downs and likely be added at a nice price.

Argument against him

The kid just can't stay healthy. He missed 12 total games in his career. That's hard to get around and why he's so low on the list. As far as when he's on the field, he's more of a 10-12 touch guy than an every down back.

Contract Value

Because of his injury history and his position, we don't estimate that he'll break the bank. We'd guess the Chargers could sign Spiller for 1 year at $3.5 million.

24. Perrish Cox

Why Sign Him

Cox is a player that I've liked since he came out of college. 2014 was the first year he got an opportunity to start and I think he showed that he belongs in this league. He finished the season with 5 interceptions and 8 pass breakups, all while playing left corner(typically where teams put their #1 CB) Cox adds value to the defensive backfield because in the past he's played in the slot as well(a position the Chargers desperately need to upgrade.) He also has experience in the return game. Cox wouldn't have to guard the opposing teams best receiver as a Charger. Cox is a better fit for what the Chargers would ask him to do in coverage. He also only missed 1 tackle. He's a good player that isn't a liability on the field.

Argument against him

Cox proved that he can be an opportunistic CB, but also had some rough games in his first full season as a starter. In the Chargers comeback against the 49ers, Cox surrendered 7 catches on 10 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. For the season, he allowed 61% of passes his way for completions. That's good for 54th in the league. You never, never want to trust 1 solid year, especially if it's a player's first year. CB charting stats are arguably the most inconsistent from year to year. Lastly, imagine all the unbearable and awful jokes(likely from Cake or Death) with "Johnson and Cox."

Contract Value

Another thing you need to be careful with is overpaying for 1 year. Cox had 5 interceptions and I could see them trying to use that as leverage in negotiations. He's another guy the team could sign for a team friendly deal. 2 years, $7.5 million.

23. DeMarco Murray

Why Sign Him

Production. Murray can excel in any running scheme and is a very good runner. He's patient enough to let his blocks develop and can create on his own, whether it's making the defender miss or running right through them. Murray ranked 7th in PFF's elusive rating, that tracks a runner's success(missed tackles forced) beyond the point of being helped by blockers. So the idea that the offensive line made him isn't true. Also, 33% of his runs were 15 yards or more.

Argument for him

In free agency, especially at running back, you never want to pay for past production. Murray will be 27 in February but had 437 attempts this year. Four hundred thirty-seven! Like Ryan Mathews, injuries have held Murray back in his career. He's missed 15 games since 2011. He's had some costly fumbles as well. In his career, he has fumbled once every 108 times. It's hard to argue Murray's production, but why pay for that mileage and those issues when you can get that on a rookie contract?

Contract Value

His production will prop up his value, but the wear and tear he took this last year, plus his positional value will take a hit. He'll still get paid. We estimate Murray can be signed for 4 years at for 27 million.

22) Craig Robertson

Why Sign Him

The first of 4 Browns on the list, Robertson is a player I really enjoyed watching. For what Robertson was asked to do, I thought he exceeded expectations. As a run defender, he actually plays downhill, giving him a chance to make the play. In pass coverage, I think you can rely on him to be in a position to make a play and think he would pair well next to Manti Te'o in the Chargers' sub-package defense. He gives the team another athlete that can run, and would be an upgrade over Gachkar/Butler on 3rd downs. The Chargers were 27th in DVOA at stopping RBs in the passing game. The Browns were 1st, and Robertson had a lot to do with that. Allowing the catch isn't a problem if you can finish the play. Robertson also excels on special teams.

Argument against him

While you can never go wrong with upgrading at the position the team doesn't "need" to spend money at inside linebacker. A strong argument could be made to use all your resources for a free agent that would make more of an impact.

Contract Value

Another player at a position that the NFL doesn't seem to value unless you're a superstar, we estimate Roberston could be signed for 3 years at $12.5 million.

21) Dan Williams

Why Sign Him

You get one of the better run defenders in the league who is just getting into his prime coming off of his best year yet. Williams is a clear upgrade from any interior defensive lineman on the roster not named Corey Liuget. Williams has shown that he can erase run plays up the middle and also finish them himself. The Cardinals were 1st in power success and stuffed runs. As well as 4th running in between the guards. Williams gives you instant production at the position.

Argument against him

The Chargers defensive line rotation played so much better than given credit for once the defense got healthy. The last few weeks of the season the run defense was 9th in DVOA. Then you factor in that you might have to overpay for a player who will give you 35-40% of the snaps, maximum? No thanks. Is he a clear upgrade, surely, but worth the price when you can use that money elsewhere? Eh, I don't think so.

Contract Value

Coming off a very good year, we expect Williams to get a nice deal, around 5 years, $27 million(5.4 annually.)

Next up, 20-16, fire away!