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Chargers Team Report - 06/09/10

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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

    <div class="alignright"><a class="vt-p" href="http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c117812/media_center/images/rendered/blog/wysiwyg/vjax.jpg"><img class=" " title="Vincent Jackson" src="http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c117812/media_center/images/rendered/blog/wysiwyg/vjax.jpg" alt="" width="164" height="191" /></a></div>

    The Chargers have sent a shot over the bow regarding the contracts of two star players as their offseason program winds down before everyone takes a few weeks off leading into training camp.

    The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Chargers sent letters to wide receiver Vincent Jackson and left tackle Marcus McNeill informing the players that their restricted free agent tender offers would be dramatically slashed if not signed by June 15. That's the deadline for teams to withdraw their original qualifying offers to unrestricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiation rights. They have to instead offer a tender of 110 percent of last year's salary.

    According to the report, the team threatened to reduce Vincent's tender from $3.268 million to $583,000 and McNeill's from $3.168 million to $600,000.

    The paper also cited sources who said the players would consider sitting out the 2010 season in a contract dispute if it comes to that.

    The one piece of good news for the Chargers on Monday came when Malcolm Floyd signed his one-year, $3.168 million tender.

    -Tight end Antonio Gates says it, so we'll believe it: his foot is fine.

    "Just taking precautionary action because of the struggles in the past and all the things I have been through," Gates said Friday. "It never was a major problem; it was something I wanted to make sure wasn't any worse."

    The Chargers conducted minicamp without their stellar tight end. Gates was out with a foot injury, and oh, isn't that a road we've been done before?

    With his various foot ailments behind him, Gates was solid last year: a team-high 79 catches for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns.

    Then instead of Gates being at the minicamp sessions, he was being examined by the same North Carolina foot specialist who previously doctored him.

    But Gates, a six-time Pro Bowler, said it's a minor injury on the "other" foot.

    He has a slight case of plantar fasciitis, but in his right, not left foot.

    "That was the one that compensated though everything the last couple of years," said Gates, who resumes running in two-to-three weeks. "The right foot has been more than special for me if I must say so."

    Gates' skills come with wisdom. He's aware the clock is ticking on the Chargers cashing in big. Those four straight AFC West titles are dandy, but...

    "We all know the opportunity window closes as time passes and that is one thing we are all aware of in this locker room, especially me and the guys that have been around," Gates said.

    "You get a small percentage of trying to win the championship, period, in your whole career. When you think about it, the odds of winning are so small that you have to take advantage of it whenever having the opportunity and we understand that. Gates gets it. And for the Chargers to get to a Super Bowl there's better time.

    "Hey, next year some things might change," Gates said. "You can see it has changed dramatically from last year to now."

    Gates swears he'll be fine by training camp and nothing dramatically is wrong with his foot.

    In Gates' case, the right foot.

    "I think he was smart taking care of himself," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "You saw last year he was healthy for the season and that was his best year."


    -TE Randy McMichael signed with the Chargers to back up Antonio Gates. Terms were not disclosed.

    With Brandon Manumaleuna now with the Bears, San Diego wanted a veteran presence behind Gates. McMichael, 30, caught 34 passes while starting all 16 games for St. Louis last season.

    "Randy has been a targeted player for us for some time now," GM A.J. Smith said in a statement. "With the departure of Brandon to the Bears, we wanted to sign another veteran. We were hoping that would be Randy."

    -Ryan Mathews finally got to dip his toe into the NFL waters.

    OK, it was minicamp - which can be glorified touch football.

    But even if it was just jerseys and shorts, Mathews got a taste of the pros.

    Unable to attend previous OTAs because of school, Mathews' learning curve was on a minicamp fast track.

    "I still have a lot to learn but it was real fun," said Mathews, the Chargers' top pick.

    The key, the Chargers think, isn't getting Mathews to find the right hole. He proved at Fresno State he is a sensational prospect.

    What the Chargers are concerned about is pass protection. When there's $92 million invested in quarterback Philip Rivers, he must be kept upright.

    So for Mathews to see the field more, he has to see more than daylight and then running to it. He needs to know the daylights out of pass-rusher - or at least impede their path to Rivers.

    Coach Norv Turner thinks Mathews has an edge. Not only has he proven, in this short time, to be football smart, but Mathews has some good teachers.

    "If you're Ryan Mathews and playing running back and you got (Darren) Sproles there, Jacob (Hester) there and (Mike) Tolbert there, those are guys that really understand what we are doing," Turner said. "So they help speed the process.

    "Ryan is a real sharp guy and I'm really pleased in what he got done this week.

    But any talk of Mathews quickly turns to running. With the Chargers turning the page on the LaDainian Tomlinson Era, all eyes are on Mathews.

    "One thing that is exciting is when he knows what to do and gets that ball in his hands," Turner said. "He is an exciting runner."

    -TE Antonio Gates was noticing the number of new faces at minicamp, while also noting the absence of LaDainian Tomlinson. "It's always weird," he said, of not spotting No. 21. "I played with him for so long. I was one of the guys who was around when we were doing that whole rebuilding thing."

    -QB Jonathon Crompton, the team's fifth-round pick, signed a four-year contract.

    -Coach Norv Turner enjoyed having former USC and Rams coach John Robinson at training camp practices last year. But Robinson's time is getting stretched - he's coaching defense at nearby San Marcos High School next season.

    -WR Buster Davis neglected again to take advantage of an opportunity. With Jackson and Floyd skipping the minicamp, Davis was mostly sideline with a concussion. Davis, a former first-round pick, continues to be plagued by various injuries.

    -SS Kevin Ellison, who started the second half of last season, was told by team officials not to attend the minicamp because of his recent arrest on a drug charge.

    -K Nate Kaeding got in his first work since injuring his groin in Pro Bowl workouts. Many are interested to see how Kaeding rebounds after missing three field goals in the Chargers' playoff loss to the Jets.

    -The Chargers start their final OTA sessions next week.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We don't take it for granted and you can tell we got the sense of urgency." - TE Antonio Gates on the Chargers window of opportunity.





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

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

    -*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)

    -*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.

    -*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.



    -QB Jonathan Crompton (5/168): 4 yrs, terms unknown.


    -OLB Antwan Applewhite: ERFA; $470,000/1 yr.

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

    -OT Jeromey Clary: RFA; (tendered at $1.684M with second-round pick as compensation); $1.684M/1 yr.

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

    -*DE Travis Johnson: RFA; (tendered at $1.226M with first-round pick as compensation); $1.226M/1 yr.

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

    -*RB Darren Sproles: RFA; (tendered at $7.283M with first- and third-round picks as compensation); $7.283M/1 yr.

    -FB Mike Tolbert: ERFA; $470,000/1 yr.

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


    -RB Marcus Mason (waivers Redskins).

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

    -CB Nate Vasher: FA Bears; $4.5M/2 yrs.


    -RB Michael Bennett (released).

    -WR Demetrius Byrd (released/non-football injury).

    -CB Antonio Cromartie (traded Jets).

    -*ILB Tim Dobbins (traded Dolphins), had been re-signed as RFA; (tendered at $1.176M with fifth-round pick as compensation); $1.176M/1 yr.

    -*C Eric Ghiaciuc: Not tendered as RFA/Browns; terms unknown.

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

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

    -OT Jon Runyan: UFA (retired).

    -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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