San Diego Chargers: Free Agent Targets
Free Agency officially begins tomorrow and after last week’s post regarding which players the Chargers should look to resign/let go, (see https://mrnfl.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/san-diego-chargers-offseason-outlook/) it’s time to look at which players the Chargers should look to target in Free Agency.
Depending on reports, the Chargers are expected to have within the region of $20-$30 million in salary cap space for the 2012 season. Taking into account what happens with players like Jared Gaither and Vincent Jackson, this still leaves the team with a hefty amount to spend in Free Agency.
Now without further ado, here are the top 10 players the Chargers should target in Free Agency.
Free Agent Targets
1. Mario Williams- Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
Overview: The number 1 free agent target (not named Peyton Manning) for teams this offseason is Mario Williams. Reports have already surfaced about possible suitors for Williams and that includes the Chargers. http://boltbeat.com/2012/03/06/chargers-have-assigned-an-unknown-price-they-are-willing-to-pay-for-mario-williams/
Antwan Barnes was the team leader in sacks last season with a career high 11 sacks. On the opposite side, veteran outside linebacker Shaun Phillips had a career low 3.5 sacks. Adding Williams to the defense would surely make the Chargers a contender in the AFC once again.
A.J. Smith, if your reading this, (I think he’s reading now) Mario Williams should be the Chargers number 1 free agent target this offseason.
2. Marques Colston- Wide Receiver
Overview: In my opinion, the best thing the Chargers can do to replace Vincent Jackson (should he leave) would be to go after New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston.
Colston has been an extremely reliable player for the Saints offense over the years, recording 1000 receiving yards in every single season except for a injury plagued 2008.
A.J. Smith, if your reading this, (I highly doubt he is but I’ll continue) Colston would be the ideal replacement for Jackson. Just imagine what the Chargers offense could do next season with Rivers at quarterback, Mathews at running back, Colston at wide reciver and Gates at tight end.
3. Eric Wright- Cornerback
Overview: Anyone who watched the Chargers secondary struggle last season will tell you that cornerback is a definite need for the team this offseason.
Veteran Quinton Jammer is definitely coming towards the end of his career and Antonie Cason is still improving as a cornerback. The Chargers drafted two cornerbacks in last year’s Draft, (Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright) with both having impressive Rookie seasons.
Eric Wright would be the perfect player to pair with Cason. The 26-year-old five year veteran is a solid contributor who would immediately improve the Chargers secondary.
4. Samson Satele- Center
Overview: Despite many Chargers fans hoping that Nick Hardwick returns, I still think the team would be better off cutting ties with the 30-year-old veteran.
Satele has spent the last three seasons with the Oakland Raiders and has been a reliable player on their offensive line.
A solid run-blocker, Satele would help out Ryan Mathews in the running game.
5. Tom Zbikowski- Safety
Overview: The Chargers already have a Pro Bowl safety in Eric Weddle but are still looking to bring in a player alongside him. If Steve Gregory isn’t re-signed, I see Tom Zbikowski as a solid replacement.
Zbikowski has been a member of the Baltimore Ravens for his entire NFL career, serving mostly as a backup safety and special teams player.
The 26-year-old would provide depth to the Chargers secondary.
6. Tashard Choice- Running Back
Overview: Depending on what happens with Mike Tolbert, the Chargers may look to free agency to find a replacement to backup Ryan Matthews. Choice finished last season as a member of the Buffalo Bills and will be looking to leave the Bills in search of more playing time with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller already on their roster.
Choice is a versatile player who would provide the Chargers with a solid contribution in his limited carries. His ability as a receiver out of the backfield could also be a factor .
He is a very good role player who could be a valuable player for the Chargers’ offense.
7. Shaun Rogers- Defensive Tackle
Overview: Once a dominant player for the Cleveland Browns, the former Pro Bowler is coming towards the end of his NFL career. He spent last season with the New Orleans Saints and played in all 16 games whilst recording 22 tackles.
With the expected release of Luis Castillio and the uncertainty surrounding Antonio Garay, the Chargers defensive line is left with a group of mostly younger players. Players like Cam Thomas and Vaughn Martin both showed great promise last season with Martin having a career high 47 tackles and Thomas having a career high 4 sacks. Add in last year’s first round pick Corey Liuget and the Chargers look to have a promising defensive line for next season.
Even still, Rogers would be a great player to add veteran experience and depth to the defensive line rotation.
8. Harry Douglas- Wide Receiver
Overview: As a slot receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, Douglas has been used mostly as a role player during his career.
Whether Vincent Jackson returns to the team or not, the Chargers will almost certainly be in the market for a wide receiver in free agency. Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown are the only receivers on the roster that made any real contribution last season. Richard Goodman and Bryan Walters are used more on special teams and Patrick Crayton is expected to be released.
Douglas would provide some much needed depth would come in relatively cheap.
9. Matt Roth- Outside Linebacker
Overview: Roth started the first nine games of last season before he was placed on IR (Injured reserve) with a concussion injury. He recorded 86 tackles in his last full season as a member of the Cleveland Browns in 2010.
Perfectly suited to play outside linebacker in the Chargers 3-4 defense, Roth would add depth and experience to a young linebacking corp.
Roth would be a solid backup alongside Travis LaBoy. Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes would continue as the Chargers starting outside linebackers.
10. Martellus Bennett- Tight End
Overview: The Chargers are faced with question marks at the tight end position. Antonio Gates is still one of the best players on the team and will surely go down as one of the greatest tight ends of all time. However, Gates is currently the only established tight end on the current roster.
Brad Taylor was a Rookie last season and failed to play in any games. Randy McMichael is an unrestricted free agent and isn’t likely to return next season. The only other tight end on the roster is Kory Sperry who is a restricted free agent and has just five catches in two seasons with the team.
Bennett would be a decent free agent to bring in as the backup to Gates.
So those are my Free Agent Targets for the Chargers. Check back next week as I reveal my Draft Targets for the Chargers.
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