Today, the San Diego Chargers announced they placed Jerry Attaochu on season ending injured reserve. The Chargers have been among the league leaders of players lost for the season. In fact, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune tweeted out an interesting fact about San Diego’s injury history for this year:
Injuries have played a major role in the Chargers’ 5-6 record. And while San Diego has not been officially eliminated from the playoffs, the likelihood they advance to postseason play this year is extremely slim. The Chargers have a talented, young core of players. But San Diego is going to need help next year if they want to make a serious push in the postseason. Tom Telesco needs to open Dean Spanos’ wallet this offseason to make one big splash free agency signing if he is sincere in his desire to help Rivers win a Super Bowl. Here are some players the Chargers can target this off season.
Let’s start off with perhaps the biggest of the pipe dreams, Alshon Jeffery. The talented Bears wide receiver has had an up and down career for Chicago. The Bears applied the franchise tag on Jeffery this past off season in hopes of coming to terms on a long term deal after the season. However, according to Jason Cole, of Bleacher Report, team officials have grown tired with Jeffery’s inconsistent play and off the field issues (suspended 4 games for PEDs). Alshon Jeffery might very well hit the open market.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE: When Philip Rivers was at his best, he had a big physical wide receiver in Vincent Jackson to help stretch the field. Rivers has sorely missed a receiver that can go up and come down with the deep passes. It is truly amazing what Rivers has been able to accomplish with a bunch of undrafted free agents and ex-CFL players at the wide receiver position. Adding Jeffery to the receiving core of the Chargers would help replenish the declining production of an aging Antonio Gates, and also provide insurance to an injury prone Keenan Allen. Lastly, Jeffery would provide a much needed red zone target to help alleviate the woes the Chargers have near the goal line. Rivers would relish the opportunity to throw an end zone fade pass to Jeffery, something that he hasn’t been able to do since the departure of Vincent Jackson.
WHY THE CHARGERS SHOULD PASS: If Jeffery were to hit the open market, he will have plenty of suitors lining up for his services. San Diego has to many needs to address to go all in on a player coming off a 4 game suspension. Instead of entering a bidding war, the Chargers could target a more cost effective solution, like Michael Floyd to help address their needs and depth at the wide receiver position.
The Chiefs have a stout front seven and it all stems from the work of Dontari Poe. Poe is a disruptive nose tackle that can stuff the run and apply pressure up the middle. So why would the Chiefs decide to let him walk? Simple, salary cap issues and depth along the defensive line. Kansas City needs to find a way to lock up Eric Berry to a long term deal which means the Chiefs could be forced to make a decision, Berry or Poe. And with the depth the Chiefs have along the defensive line (Chris Jones, Rakeem Nunez- Roches, and Jaye Howard), this would be a no brainer; Berry would stay, and Poe would go.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE: Brandon Mebane was a fantastic addition by Tom Telesco. He has been a force in the middle and really helped the Chargers improve their run defense. Unfortunately, due to a torn bicep, Mebane found himself on IR. Next year, Mebane will turn 32 and be coming off a major injury. It is fair to say that Mebane will have a significant regression next year because of these factors. If San Diego wants to keep up in the defensive arms race in the AFC West, then they need to take a look at Poe. Signing Poe would give the Chargers a formidable and deep defensive line (not to mention a red zone threat). By adding Poe, the Chargers would improve their defense while hurting a division rival, all in the same move.
WHY THE CHARGERS SHOULD PASS: Poe has missed some time over the years with some nagging back injuries. That could be a cause for concern for Telesco that would make him look at Kawann Short instead. Also, it seems like every year a team overpays for a big time free agent defensive lineman (Albert Haynesworth, Malik Jackson, Mario Williams, etc.) only to get burned in the long run. Perhaps Telesco would be wise to spend his resources in another way.
Going into this year, the cornerback position was supposed to be an area of strength for San Diego. However, like the rest of the team, injuries have decimated the secondary. Flowers was showing signs of a bounce back year, but has had a lot of issues with concussions over the last couple of weeks which has halted his improved play. In addition, San Diego lost their All Pro cornerback, Jason Verrett, with a partially torn ACL. Verrett has been phenomenal when he has been on the field. Unfortunately, he has missed several games throughout his career due to numerous injuries. It is fair to assume that management is concerned that Verrett is injury concern. San Diego cannot survive next year with an under performing 3rd round pick (Craig Mager) and an undrafted free agent (Trevor Williams) in their starting lineup. This is where Stephon Gilmore comes into play.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE: Gilmore is on the verge of becoming an elite cornerback. He currently has 4 interceptions this year and is always tasked on taking the opposing teams best wide receiver. A prudent move by Telesco would be to release Flowers after this year and apply his cap number to Gilmore to help create a “Legion of Boom” southern Cali edition. Once again, adding a player of Gilmore’s caliber would help propel the Chargers in that AFC West defensive arms race and provide insurance for Jason Verrett and his lengthy injury history.
WHY THE CHARGERS SHOULD PASS: They shouldn’t. The only issue here is Gilmore getting tagged by the Bills. The only way Buffalo lets Gilmore walk is if they decide to get more offensive and go after a player like Alshon Jeffery to help supplement/ replace Sammy Watkins.
Bolts from the Blue wants to hear from the fans? Who do you want to see Telesco go after next year? Which players are on your wish list? Sound off below!