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Analysis: A.J. Smith didn't just give up

Discussion in 'American Football' started by CoronaDoug, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    Before we get all crazy (too late!) let’s take a deep breath and at least acknowledge that A.J. Smith has a plan.

    Even if you suspect the plan was concocted while Smith, Norv Turner and Dean Spanos played quarters in the War Room while waiting for Ed McGuire to tell them he’d worked out another deal, you must know Smith isn’t sitting alone in his office having given up after bidding good riddance to a very good player.

    Look, nowhere did the trumpet get sounded sooner, the cry louder or more consistent than in this space that the Chargers should lock up Vincent Jackson. And now that he’s signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for five years and $55.56 million, it seems to have been proved that something could have been worked out here had the Chargers been willing.

    But, alas, they were not.

    And Smith moved quickly to at least stanch the bleeding that Jackson’s absence threatened. The Chargers made an offer sweet enough to entice Robert Meachem away from Buffalo. OK, so that’s being facetious and intentionally mean, but the point is the Chargers acted decisively in giving him $25.9 million over four years. That total possible value is $100,000 less than Jackson will receive in his first two years in Tampa Bay, and the $14 million guaranteed for Meachem is about half the $26 million Jackson is fully assured.

    Right or wrong (Wrong! John McLaughlin voice), Smith did not think Jackson was as valuable as some of the rest of us did. Smith was, by the way, not alone. Several people actually in the league (y’know, who do this for a living) voiced concerns about Jackson’s age and penchant to get taken out of games.

    Yes, Philip Rivers struggled last year as his corps of receivers (including Jackson, who didn’t miss a game but was hurt for about a half-dozen of them) was at less than full strength.

    Arguably (not really, just being congenial), his stretch of poor play had more to do with Rivers being under siege and taking on too much as a result of this nagging thought: “Shoot, our defense probably isn’t going to get us the ball back if we don’t fix to score right here.” (Mind-reading ad-libbed, not actually a quote or even a verbatim thought expressed by Rivers.)

    If we’re going to use 2011 to argue how much Rivers will miss Jackson, then we must also talk about 2010.
    Remember? Jackson missed the first 10 games in a contract dispute, played two snaps in his season debut and then missed another game with a calf strain. He ended up with 14 catches for 248 yards and three touchdowns.

    Also that season, Antonio Gates missed six games and wasn’t right for another four. Malcom Floyd was down for five games and limping an additional two.

    Meanwhile, Rivers led the NFL with 4,710 yards on a league-high 8.7 yards per attempt. He threw 30 touchdowns and was intercepted 13 times. He completed passes to a team-record 17 different receivers, including the first NFL receptions by Seyi Ajirotutu and Richard Goodman on Oct. 24 and the first NFL reception by Gary Banks the next Sunday. Seven different players started at wide receiver for the Chargers that year. Seven!

    Robert Meachem? The guy has at least averaged 43 catches, 630 yards and seven touchdowns over the past three seasons. Turner and Rivers made Ajirotutu look like Calvin Johnson for parts of 2010; they can probably make do with Meachem, whose speed alone makes him useful as a vertical threat who can help open up the field for Floyd, Vincent Brown, Gates and whoever else.

    The key is what Smith does in the entirety of free agency.

    He has been upfront about all the Chargers have to do. He’s putting a puzzle together, trying to make each player and the player’s contract fit.

    The way Meachem’s contract breaks down, his cap number in 2012 is $3.375 million. That’s more than $9 million less than the hit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are taking with Jackson (the Bucs started free agency with $45 million in cap space) and it allows the Chargers to continue retooling their roster.

    Re-signing Jared Gaither was a nice follow-up Wednesday morning. The Chargers had already re-signed center Nick Hardwick on Tuesday. The starting five on the offensive line is set. Wednesday’s signing of outside linebacker Jarret Johnson was universally praised (again, by football people). Getting Le'Ron McClain accomplished their goal of getting a bona fide fullback.

    Give Smith at least until Thursday afternoon to find another receiver, some depth on the offensive and defensive lines, another cornerback and a safety.

    And try to remember the draft is next month. (I know, he doesn’t know how to draft either.)

  2. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Absolutely the worst piece of sports writing I've read in an non-fan blog. :tdown:

    Whomever promoted Kevin Acee to "columnist" status at the U-T should be taken out and shot..... No, I'm not kidding.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. MONDO.

    MONDO. Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2007
    Im thinking chargers maybe involved in some kind of trade on draft day hope they can grab a gem or two no more busts please!
  4. The LBC

    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

    Jun 28, 2010
    Shhhh! He has to be promoted to a position of supposed "prominence" before he can be perceived as someone networks might want to steal away (please! take him! will gift-wrap him for you!) - see Doug Gottlieb up here in LA. It's pretty obvious Kevin is salivating at the mouth for bigger opportunities too; his ego is out of control when he does "beat writer/local columnist" interviews for ESPN and NFLN now - it's incredibly hilarious!

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