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Chargers Team Report - 03/19/10

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/notes.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>

    <div class="alignright"><a href="http://photos.upi.com/slideshow/lbox/652391605b9ca1fb9e4ded9f01987004/NFL-CHARGERS-49ERS.jpg"><img title="Charlie Whitehurst" src="http://photos.upi.com/slideshow/lbox/652391605b9ca1fb9e4ded9f01987004/NFL-CHARGERS-49ERS.jpg" alt="" width="153" height="202" /></a></div>

    Chargers general manager A. J. Smith has taken his share of grief on quarterbacks he has passed on: Ben Roethlisberger (two Super Bowl rings), Eli Manning (one) and Drew Brees (one).</div>
    But Smith deserves credit for what he was able to wrangle from the Seattle Seahawks for No. 3 quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

    Whitehurst was a restricted free agent who was tendered a third-round pick. Seattle was interested, but minus a third-round pick this year the teams had to creative.

    And it appears that worked in the Chargers' favor.

    For letting Whitehurst go, the Chargers moved up 20 spots in this year's second round when flipping spots with the Seahawks, then collects Seattle's third-round selection for next year.

    All that for a quarterback who has never thrown an NFL pass and has only played in two regular-season games. And he was blocked in San Diego, playing behind Philip Rivers and Billy Volek.

    Whitehurst must have really tickled the Seahawks and new coach Pete Carroll because they also gave him a two-year, $5 million contract.

    But more importantly for the Chargers, it gives them a chance to fill various holes by a significant vault up the second round. The Chargers now possess two of the first 40th picks, with their first coming at No. 28.

    By getting a second-round pick that high, the Chargers could erase one of their glaring needs in the draft: running back.

    It figures the Chargers will take their first pick and plug their gaping hole in the middle at defensive tackle. Just maybe, they are able to get Penn State's Jared Odrick, Tennessee's Dan Williams or Alabama's Terrence Cody.

    Some speculated the Chargers would go running back with their first pick and that is a believable argument.

    But it's easy to get a running back up higher in the second round than an impact defensive tackle to anchor a 3-4 alignment.

    So it's conceivable the Chargers could delay the running back need, coming off a player like Fresno State's Ryan Mathews. Some think at No. 40 California's Jahvid Best would still be on the board, and if not him, maybe the Chargers go with someone like Georgia's Jonathan Dwyer or Auburn's Ben Tate.

    Or might the Chargers reach for Mississippi's Dexter McCluster, who also returns kicks - just in case someone decides to wrestle Darren Sproles from the Chargers?

    But regardless, the Chargers versatility in the draft was improved dramatically with Smith's keen deal in unloading Whitehurst on Seattle.

    <strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong>

    -Chargers executive Jim Steeg has left the organization after five years. Steeg, the team's chief operating officer, was brought on board to give the Chargers' search for a new stadium traction. But despite his considerable contacts from his days at the NFL office orchestrating numerous Super Bowls, the Chargers are still no closer to getting something built than when he took over. "The main objectives when I got here were to help build a stadium and win a Super Bowl," Steeg said. "It's disappointing to leave without doing either, but I believe the organization is in great shape and in great position to accomplish both goals in the near future."

    -DL Ian Scott was brought back after being part of a rotation which got the unit through an injury ravaged season last year. Scott played the final 13 games for the Chargers, which included eight starts at nose tackle. Scott joins Alfonso Boone as those along the line being retained for 2010.

    -CB Don Strickland, who had 11 starts with the Jets last season, was signed. Strickland had three tackles and a pass defensed in the Jets' upset win over the Chargers in last season's playoffs. Strickland is a former 2003 third-round pick of the Colts.

    -OLB Shawne Merriman received his Ed Block Courage Award for his comeback from a serious knee operation in 2009.

    -The Chargers' training staff was named the NFL's Athletic Training Staff of the Year award.

    <strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "No one is just going to give you a job. I'm going in with the mind-set that it's an opportunity." - CB Antoine Cason on what the trade of starting cornerback Antonio Cromartie means to him.

    <strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong>


    The Chargers have been busy this offseason, but mostly in opening the facility door to see players on their way out.

    Among those released from the team were future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson and three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jamal Williams. Also leaving was three-time Pro Bowl special-teamer Kassim Osgood.

    The Chargers also traded one-time Pro Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

    But it hasn't been an offseason of doom and gloom for the Chargers. In many cases they are among the NFL's most fortunate teams with the league heading into an uncapped season.

    With that caveat, the Chargers were able to tender offers to left tackle Marcus McNeill, linebacker Shawne Merriman, running back Darren Sproles and wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd. All five were due to become unrestricted free agents and the Chargers wouldn't have been able to retain them all for the 2010 season.

    But with the uncapped year and the tenders which were placed on each player, it's likely they will all return in 2010.

    The Chargers' other moves were toward an eye to the future.

    The team was eager to dump Cromartie after he caused too many headaches on and off the field. They wrestled a 2011 third-round pick from the Jets; the pick goes to a second-rounder depending on Cromartie's playing time.

    They also moved No. 3 quarterback Charlie Whitehouse to the Seahawks, a trade which allowed the Chargers to switch second-round picks with Seattle, a move up 20 spots. They will also obtain the Seahawks' 2011 third-round pick for Whitehurst.


    1. Running back: The Chargers move the ball through the air. But someone has to be behind Philip Rivers and currently there's not much there. The removal of LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Bennett from the roster means this need leaps off the Chargers' offseason page. The Chargers have the dynamic Darren Sproles, but he's more of a situational back than one to be counted on for yards between the tackles.

    2. Defensive tackle: The Chargers were late finding a replacement for Jamal Williams, a three-time Pro Bowler who has been breaking down in recent seasons. The Chargers now need to move fast, unless they want to spend another season plugging the defense's biggest hole in the middle. Ryon Bingham, Williams' backup, should return. But he doesn't have the girth and mass that Williams displayed.

    3. Cornerback: The Chargers once bragged this was among the team's deepest position. But they grew tired of babysitting the talented but immature Antonio Cromartie and shipped the Pro Bowler to the Jets. There are some bodies behind Cromartie, but can any of them separate themselves to prove they are up to taking Cromartie's spot?

    MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.




    -C Dennis Norman is at a spot where the team has depth and likely won't come back.

    -OL Jon Runyan is going to retire and run for Congress.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

    -*C Eric Ghiaciuc (not tendered as RFA) won't have a place with the number of linemen - when healthy - ahead of him.

    -*OLB Marques Harris (not tendered as RFA) is a decent pass rusher but the Chargers will likely see him go where he would get more of a chance to contribute.

    -*LB Dontarrious Thomas (not tendered as RFA) seldom saw the field when arriving late last year and appears to be a goner.

    RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)

    -RT Jeromey Clary (tendered at $1.684M with second-round pick as compensation) will return but will be pushed by Brandyn Dombrowski for a starting job.

    -*ILB Tim Dobbins (tendered at $1.176M with fifth-round pick as compensation) is a solid backup after getting lapped by Brandon Siler; should return.

    -*WR Malcom Floyd (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) could likely get more passes thrown his way elsewhere, but he likes San Diego and will likely take a little less to remain here.

    -*WR Vincent Jackson (tendered at $3.268M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) is the team's top receiver and will be brought back - unless the team has grown tired of his immaturity; that's doubtful after two 1,000-yard seasons.

    -*DL Travis Johnson (tendered at $1.226M with first-round pick as compensation) will probably have to settle for less money, but the former first-round pick of the Texans might have found a home in San Diego.

    -*LT Marcus McNeill (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) is a stud at left tackle and among the team's biggest offseason priorities.

    -*OLB Shawne Merriman (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) will return, possibly, if willing to swallow his pride and lower his price tag. A motivated Merriman playing on a one-year deal could be attractive to the Chargers.

    -*RB Darren Sproles (tendered at $7.283M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) was tendered after it was first thought the Chargers would let him go.


    -OLB Antwan Applewhite (tendered at $470,000) can deliver a burst off the ball and is keen on special teams. He should be brought back.

    -FB Mike Tolbert (tendered at $470,000) continues to improve and the Chargers could give him more carries in the base offense, depending on the situation at running back.


    -DT Alfonso Boone: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

    -*DT Antonio Garay: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.

    -DT Ian Scott: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    -TE Kris Wilson: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.


    -RB Marcus Mason (waivers Redskins).

    -CB Donald Strickland: FA Jets; 2 yrs, terms unknown


    -RB Michael Bennett (released).

    -CB Antonio Cromartie (traded Jets).

    -TE Brandon Manumaleuna: UFA Bears; $15M/5 yrs, $$2M SB/$3M RB.

    -WR Kassim Osgood: UFA Jaguars; $6.675M/3 yrs, $2.975M guaranteed.

    -RB LaDainian Tomlinson (released).

    -*QB Charlie Whitehurst: RFA; (tendered at $1.176M with third-round pick as compensation); re-signed, traded to Seahawks.

    -NT Jamal Williams (released).

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