The possible Offensive Free Agent targets have already been discussed and now it's time to review the other side of the ball. This list is much bigger because the Chargers need some help and it isn't all going to come in the draft. Some names may be intriguing and some might induce audible groans but the purpose is twofold: maximize the talent on your roster without breaking the bank and (most importantly) create competition in Training Camp and have players earn their roster spots.
The Chargers look half dressed and need to add some layers on almost every defensive position except Cornerback and probably Nose Tackle. That's it. This list will trump the previous list.
Both current Safeties Jahleel Addae and Dwight Lowery should have their names written in pencil starting at Safety, and then hopefully written over in Sharpie when a better option comes along.
Reggie Nelson (CIN): The Free Safety led the league in interceptions last year with eight. Though the Chargers let one aging Safety leave town, this aging Safety (32 years old) would automatically be the best Safety on the Chargers roster and showed no indications that he's slowing down. Not a long term option but the most talented player still left on the market just so happens to be a position the Chargers are lacking.
Walter Thurmond (PHI): Rumors are circulating that Thurmond might hang it up early at the age of 28. If not, Thurmond is a versatile DB who can play both Cornerback and Safety. Last year was the first of his career that wasn't riddled with injuries and he proved his potential. Thurmond was reliable on the back end of the Eagles defense in his first year playing at primarily Strong Safety.
Other Options: Husain Abdullah (KC), Quintin Demps (HOU), Louis Delmas (MIA)
Nose Tackle might be deeper than years previous with the addition of Brandon Mebane but the interior of the Chargers Defensive Line needs to get more beef up front. Not only that but it needs to get deeper on the depth chart.
Nick Fairley (STL): A former high draft pick of the Detroit Lions and never really gained much playing time behind the Rams stacked line. His lone season in St. Louis did show that with limited snaps Fairley can be productive as a rotational player. As long as the asking price isn't too high (which it won't be) and his effort becomes consistent, he would upgrade the Chargers run defense.
Henry Melton (TB): A valuable rotational player that could add a pass rush from the inside. When healthy, Melton has proved he can be a disrupting force from 3-technique. Has been an interior tackle most of his playing days but has some experience at defensive end as well.
Mike DeVito (KC): More depth along the defensive line but some quality depth. In the later stages of his career but still has good get-off at the line of scrimmage and is another good run defender. DeVito has been praised as a "locker room guy" so he could also be a valuable leader in the Chargers locker room.
Other Options: Chris Canty (BAL), Dwan Edwards (CAR), Randy Starks (CLE)
Not much depth on the edge and not a lot of pressure on the quarterback from this spot either. Aldon Smith and Greg Hardy are not realistic options; they are not on this list.
Jeremy Mincey (DAL): He lost his snaps to Greg Hardy last year in Dallas and two seasons removed from being the Cowboys best pass rusher, recording six sacks. Though mostly known for getting to the quarterback Mincey is just as good in run support. At 32 years old he's not a long term answer but still a starting caliber talent if needed.
Jason Jones (DET): Jones had one of his most effective seasons last year recording 4.5 sacks with just over 550 snaps. Better pass rusher than run stopper who would be solid depth with starter potential. He is a tweener in a 3-4 but could be fit in either Outside Linebacker or Defensive End depending on the package.
Other Options: Courtney Upshaw (BAL), Wallace Gillberry (CIN), Sam Acho (CHI)
Manti Te'o and Denzel Perryman are the starters and Nick Dzubnar would be the next man up if one of those guys goes down (it's probably Te'o again) so that alone should mean Telesco should just start stock piling Inside Linebackers.
Karlos Danby (CLE): At this stage in his career and also no secret to anyone who is within earshot of Dansby, we wants to get a ring but if that doesn't work out there is always the Chargers. Dansby is at the backend of his career but one of the best at the position with exceptional coverage skills.
Craig Robertson (CLE): Another former Browns Inside Linebacker who is outstanding in pass coverage. He was one of the Browns best Special Teams players and made an impression in that locker room. Chargers could bring on the veteran presence and put him in the Linebacker rotation playing mostly on passing downs, he would upgrade Special Teams, for little cost.
Other Options: DeMeco Ryans (PHI) Bruce Carter (TB), Stephen Tulloch (DET)