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The NFL open market

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]

    By Jamaal LaFrance
    3-10-2010


    Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith has a unique, yet successful philosophy about NFL free agency.

    In NFL free agency, Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith is a window shopper.
    Methodical. Systematic. Deliberate. Never enticed by the red-tag sale.
    The official start to the NFL calendar year began Thursday night, marked by the beginning of its annual shopping bonanza: free agency. Smith’s approach to free-agent shopping is to grab a basket, not a cart. He diligently waits for the embers to cool following the fire sale.
    As is his custom this time of year, Smith spent more time taking care of his own players by resigning DT Antonio Garay[​IMG] before he became a Restricted free agent and resigning DE Alfonso Boone[​IMG] and TE Kris Wilson[​IMG] immediately after the start of free agency.
    Smith also is very aware of popular opinion. He knows Charger fans would love to ink Mr. Glitz and Mr. Glamour to multi-year deals, but that's just not his style.
    "I realize that,” Smith said of the fans’ interest in acquiring big-name players. "If you're really close to a championship and you go get that key guy..."
    In Smith's mind, the Chargers are never merely one player away from a championship.
    "If we felt that," he continued, “we would do that."
    It's no secret Smith is not in the business of simply collecting talent. He wants and signs “football players”, not high-priced egos or household names with blinding disclaimers.
    "We are always players in the free agency market," Smith said. "We're just not big players for the big-money guys. We let the dust settle a little bit. We always look for players that we think can help us. We're going to be active. I don't know how quickly someone will come in here, but we're going to be looking for some help depending on what is available.”
    He knows exactly who, when and why a player will land at Chargers Park. And rest assured, Charger fans also will know in due time. There is no sense in trying to make sense of it now. Smith has a plan; always has a plan.
    There's proof. Since Smith was named general manager in 2003, he has signed several solid, veteran free agents that made an immediate contribution for more than one season.

    Acquired via free agency:
    LB Kevin Burnett[​IMG]
    LB Randal Godfrey
    G Mike Goff
    FB Lorenzo Neal
    TE Kris Wilson

    Acquired via trade:
    WR Chris Chambers
    TE Brandon Manumaleuna[​IMG]
    WR Keenan McCardell
    T Roman Oben

    Smith will be the first to admit free-agent shopping is an art, not a perfect science. Practically every team in the league becomes a victim of the revolving door that is free agency. Contracts expire. Players leave. Players get hurt. Teams move in different directions. That's the nature of the business. No team, Chargers included, is immune.

    "People say a lot of things, but we make decisions in the best interest of our football team," Smith said. "We're going to try and get the best football players we can; the best on and off the field. This is a unique, different year that all teams are working their way through. It's just unchartered waters."

    The free agent shopping mall is buzzing. A few teams have already shopped and taken their item(s) home and put them on display for divisional neighbors to see. Others are at the register, cashing in on what they hope will be the talk of their town. But a small few, Chargers included, are sifting through the sale racks with purpose.

    There will be no buyer’s remorse for Smith.
     
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I'd still like Sharper, AJ. At least take a look, please.
     
  3. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

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    I found it funny that the Chargers website has an article about AJ not doing much in free agency. As if every year people forget exactly what happened the year before. And the year before that. And so on and so on.
     
  4. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    I don't think we need a big name free agent, I don't think there are hardly ANY free agents that are unrestricted that are good enough to just hand over starting positions, and I have a feeling a lot of this waiting revolves around Sproles and his 7.3 mil.

    That said, you'd think getting rid of LT, Jamal, Chambers, Manu, and Cromartie would give us some wallet flexability.
     
  5. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I never liked free agency to begin with so I'm happy AJ would rather build through the draft.
     
  6. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    While I agree AJ does ignore free agency a tad too much I'd rather have a GM like AJ who ignores free agency and focuses maybe too much on the draft than a GM (like Dan Snyder, for instance) who's the complete opposite.

    Ignoring free agency can make us miss out on some opportunities but focusing on good drafts will always leave us in line to contend, with or without free agency.

    Of course, a key aspect to that is keeping our star players when they're up for free agency, which AJ has a lot of work to do on right now.
     
  7. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Somehow those dang Stiller's manage to do it!!!:icon_evil:
     

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