A few weeks ago, I was almost certain that we wouldn't be where we are today. Well, surprise! A new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is in place, and the first day of free agency is officially over. So, what happened during this first day of insanity? Let's take a look.
The Big Stuff
Eric Weddle Returns - Despite having at least five suitors (including the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were reportedly offering quite a hefty sum), Eric Weddle will continue playing in San Diego. His deal is reportedly 5 years, $40 million with $19 million. Now, I've gone to bat for Weddle for a long time, and I still think that he is a solid safety that can continue to be a positive influence, but this deal makes him the highest paid safety in the League. I'm not sure he's quite worth that kind of money.
San Diego Grabs Takeo Spikes - In something of a surprise move, the San Diego Chargers brought on Takeo Spikes today from the San Francisco 49ers (NFC West). His contract will run for three years, and he could prove to be one of the best additions of this off-season. Spikes will provide a strong presence in a group of linebackers that may be losing up to three players on the inside, that he will provide solid leadership in the front seven, and that he will help the rest of the defense transition to the system put in place by new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky (who comes from San Francisco, for those of you who don't know).
Bob Sanders is Official - The deal framework was announced before the lockout began, but now that deals can officially be negotiated, he has been given a one year contract. Sanders could fit perfectly into a relatively weak strong safety position, providing that he can stay away from the injury bug that has plagued him through his entire career.
Some other not-so-incredibly important storylines
Clary and McMichael Return - Jeromey Clary, who started at right tackle for the Chargers last season, has been given another four years in San Diego. Despite many fans who have called for his release, Clary should continue to do a solid job on the right side of the line. Randy McMichael, who was signed as a free agent from St. Louis last season, will also return this year. McMichael did a fantastic job as a replacement for Antonio Gates and should continue to provide quality depth.
Jonas Mouton Signs - Jonas Mouton becomes the first member of the Chargers' 2011
draft class to sign a contract. The second-round pick's deal is reported at 4 years, $3.26 million ($1.5m guaranteed). That seems about the right price for a place who will spend at least half that time playing exclusively on special teams.
San Diego Signs 19 Rookie Free Agents
Here are the names, positions, and schools of the 19 players:
Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
Bront Bird, LB, Texas Tech
Mike Blanc, DE, Auburn
Ramon Broadway, CB, Arkansas
Adrian Cannon, WR, Maryland
Patrick DiMarco, FB, South Carolina
Darryl Gamble, LB, Georgia
Kelly Griffin, DT, TCU
Cody Habben, T, Washington
Stephen Harrison, CB, Kansas State
Vidal Hazelton, WR, Cincinnati
Cameron Kenny, WR, Oklahoma
Isaac Odim, RB, Minnesota-Duluth
Travon Patterson, WR, Colorado
Damik Scafe, DE, Boston College
Giovanni Stanley, WR, Whittier
Brad Taylor, TE, Baylor
Bo Thran, T, Oregon
Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin
Some interesting things to note...
5 Wide - The Chargers signed five wide receivers. That seems like a strange way to go about trying to find extra depth for the receiver position, but it could turn out well.
Tolzien Comes West - I always saw Scott Tolzien as the kind of guy that could become a combination of Billy Volek and Charlie Whitehurst for the Chargers. With a little bit of training with Norv Turner and Philip Rivers, Tolzien could turn into both a very capable depth player, but also good potential trade-bait.
Eyes on Thran - It might be my PAC-12 bias, but I always liked the way Oregon worked their offensive line. The little that I've seen of Thran suggest that he plays with a lot of strength, good speed, and great stamina. With some work, he could do some good.
Spotlight on Isaac Odim - Keep your eyes on this kid. He's a three-time Division II All-American, he ran a 4.63 forty, and he recorded a 38.5 inch vertical. Plus, at 5-11, 210 lbs., the kid has the perfect size.
Come back tomorrow for more analysis on the Chargers' busy free agency periodBack to the Los Angeles Chargers Newsfeed