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Instant Reactions to Free Agency

We’ve seen the latest news. Here’s some quick opinions on all the latest moves by Telesco and the front office.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Personally, I haven’t been a huge fan of Telesco’s work in Free Agency thus far. While most of the feeling can probably be attributed to the overpaying of a so-called ‘hitman’, even the biggest signing—both figuratively and literally—has its downsides. With that being said, let’s dive right into it.

Russell Okung, Left Tackle

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Here we go again. The Chargers shelling out a lot of money in Free Agency to woo someone that John Elway decided was not worth the paycheck.

Not to say Okung isn’t good, or that everything Elway does should be taken as the actions of God. But, at first glance, I’m not a huge fan of this deal because of one principle notion: build the line through the goddamn draft.

To be fair, the initial report of Okung’s contract with the team was a little misleading. I’m not gonna go into the specifics of it, because in all honesty, I really don’t have any idea of how the salary cap works in the NFL. I’ll leave that to guys like Daniel Stebbins and Garrett Sisti to sort through.

However, what I do understand is that the Chargers have some sort of out route after two years with their new addition. That being said, if the plan is for TT to pay for Okung’s services and select a LT in this year’s draft, then cut Okung when said LT is all ready to go, I’m all for it. If the GM really thinks Okung is going to be an elite tackle, though, for the next four years, then we have a problem.

The other reason I could see for the Chargers pursuing Okung so furiously could be at their new coach’s behest. I would not be surprised at all if Anthony Lynn told Telesco that bringing in Okung was vital to a strong running game, as the large man is quite the asset in that field. In this circumstance, if Lynn really has a vision for changing the horrendous unit that has been put out the last couple years, then I guess I could get behind that.

With the Chargers’ big-ticket acquisition this Free Agency, you could say I’m not sold. The jury is still out. However, there’s reasons for optimism for here, and if us Chargers fans really do want #17 to get his ring, Telesco is gonna have to make these kinds of splashes.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to get that bad taste out of your mouth—you know, all those big deals Telesco has given out to OL in Free Agency, only for them to flame out when they reached the West Coast.

Jahleel Addae, Safety

NFL: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, yes, I know. I picked this unflattering image on purpose.

However, this deal is just absolutely, positively, terrible. I’m sorry, but as a fan of the team who’s watched Addae lace up for quite some time now, there is no way to say this was a good move.

First, Addae should not even be a starting safety in this league.

Second, he rarely even starts in this league because he’s never on the field.

Third, I get it. He’s a funny guy. He gets the team pumped up. That’s great and all, but $22 million great? What has this world come to?

I’ve read the argument that #37 is improving. Sure. Whatever. Even if you entertain this argument, it’s not like paying for perceived improvement has worked well for this team. See: Liuget, Corey.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, point to Eric Weddle’s second contract all you want. Guess what? Jahleel Addae is not Eric Weddle. He never amounted to anything Weddle did on his rookie contract.

Speaking of Weddle, he got to play alongside Addae for a few years. With both Woodhead and Addae being free agents in the same offseason, I wonder who Weddle focused on convincing to come to Baltimore?

Oh, that’s right. Danny Woodhead. The proven commodity who has done something in this league.

This year’s draft will feature some of the best DB prospects we’ve seen in years. Like, the whole thing is stacked at the safety position. So go figure Telesco went and paid a below-average safety like he was a high-end starting safety.

Danny Woodhead, Running Back

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s bittersweet seeing Woody go. I’ve loved watching him ever since he came into the league, and the camaraderie and chemistry he shared with Phil was unreal.

And though I was surprised by the move—I wrote here that there was no way the Chargers would sacrifice a commodity so well-loved and recognizable when they moved up to LA—it’s probably for the better. I don’t think he’s worth the price tag at this juncture in his career, and while arguably he’s the best at his niche position, it’s not too hard to find someone in either the draft or on the streets that could do his job at a solid replacement level. Rex Burkhead, anyone?

So yeah, solid move by TT here to pick logic over emotion. Would’ve helped if he used his brain at the safety position, too, but I guess the man is not perfect.

Hopefully Rivers isn’t too bummed without #39 in the backfield next season.

Final Thoughts

NFL: Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
  • Telesco made the right move in cutting Brandon Flowers, DJ Fluker, and Stevie Johnson. Even if the freed cap space was not allocated well, I’m fine with letting this expensive trio walk. All three are real what-ifs: What if Flowers—along with Verrett—could just stay healthy? What if DJ Fluker had built on his rookie campaign to become a dominant force in the league? What if Stevie Johnson had been active this year? While potential is great, production is the name of the game in the NFL. And if you can’t stay on the field, pretty soon you’re gonna be out of work. Unless you apply for a job with the Chargers, that is.
  • Yeah, signing Patrick Robinson sounds great and all after he got cut from the Colts. Sisti describes it as a can’t-miss here, which I disagree with. Remember why the Chargers were able to get Robinson on a good deal from the Saints? Why do you think the Colts cut him if he was so good? Oh, yeah—injuries. In theory, pairing him with Hayward and Verrett sounds great, but those three guys have all had checkered pasts when it comes to staying on the field. If Telesco can get Robinson on a very cheap contract, I’m all for it. If not, TT better have a backup plan for when one of the three gets hurt, because Craig Mager and Trovon Reed sure as hell ain’t cutting it.
  • If the Chargers get docked draft picks for the Okung situation, as many outlets have reported, I think there is no argument now. The Chargers are on the Browns’ level. Hell, even the Browns are making smart moves now, acquiring tons and tons of draft capital in their massive youth movement! If the Bolts do bungle this situation, though, a situation with a guy who does not even have an agent, my allegiance to these nincompoops might wane. A lot. I might become a Ravens fan for all I know—at least those guys are likable!