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Chargers make final preparations for free agency

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chargers.com/news/headline_detail.cfm?news_key=2569">Chargers.com</a>

    By Casey Pearce

    Now that negotiations for the Collective Bargaining Agreement have concluded, football fans can finally turn their attention to a point of great interest every offseason: free agency.

    The new NFL year and free agency were set to start last Friday, but after CBA negotiations lingered into this week, teams are free to begin signing free agents as of 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday.

    What happened in the negotiating rooms last week will have a profound affect the opening days of free agency."  Had a new agreement not been reached, the 2006 salary cap would have been approximately $94 million, compared to the $102 million for the coming season."  The $8 million increase gives teams more room to work with when trying to accumulate new players, and it also kept a lot of players out of free agency."  Had the deal not been reached, teams would have most likely cut several veterans in order to get under the cap, putting many quality players on the market.

    Because the Chargers were in such a good salary cap situation, the status of the labor agreement had little effect on their free agency plans."  The Bolts currently sit approximately $25 million under the cap, giving them room to make moves in free agency that they feel are best for the franchise." "  Recent history says the Chargers are not likely to make major news through free agency.

    A year ago, the Bolts were the only team in the league to return all 22 starters from 2004."  They're sure to experience similar stability this season."  In addition, General Manager A.J. Smith has shown a desire to build primarily through the draft."  In 2005, Bhawoh Jue was the only free agent the club signed."  Of the Chargers' 2005 regular starters, 13 of 24 were San Diego draft picks."  Two others – guard Kris Dielman and tight end Antonio Gates – were undrafted free agents who have not spent time with any other teams.

    The three specific areas that Smith has expressed a desire to upgrade include offensive line, tight end and the defensive secondary."  Each of those position groups includes intriguing prospects in free agency.

    Eight members of the Chargers 2005 roster will hit the open market this weekend."  Wide receiver Reche Caldwell, cornerback Jamar Fletcher, quarterback Drew Brees, tight end Justin Peelle, guard/center Bob Hallen, defensive end DeQuincy Scott and linebacker Ben Leber will all become free agents."  Smith left the door open for each player to return to San Diego.

    On the offensive side of the ball, some of the top potential free agents signed new deals with their current teams and won't be on the market."  Perhaps the biggest name, league MVP Shaun Alexander, came off the market when he signed a hefty new deal to remain a Seattle Seahawk."  Ahman Green also signed a new contract to stay with the Packers."  Reggie Wayne was sure to be the hottest wide receiver in free agency this spring, but the Colts locked him up in a new contract before he hit free waters.

    The NFL will come out with its official list of unrestricted free agents tomorrow."  Keep your eyes on Chargers.com as we watch the comings and goings of the 2006 free agency period.
     

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