A little more than two months into his job, San Diego Chargers’ new General Manager, Tom Telesco, has done nothing but make the team worse than it was before.
Last week, Telesco decided to part ways with 15-year veteran, Takeo Spikes; something that makes absolutely no sense to those who know what Spikes means to a team.
It isn’t necessarily what Spikes athletically brought to the team, it was more his leadership abilities that made him an important member to the team. When asked about the mentoring that he had done over the course of the last two seasons as a Charger, Spikes responded, “That’s why [being released] hurts. The reason I wanted to finish up there is those young guys in front of me. Those are some damn good football players.”
It was that leadership that the Chargers are going to miss the most, especially linebackers Melvin Ingram and Donald Butler—Butler has improved immensely over the course of the last two seasons with Spikes as his mentor.
On top of letting Spikes go, news from offensive lineman Louis Vasquez’s agent is Vasquez will test the market. This is largely due to the fact that, “ the Chargers had a chance to get something done last November. Now, Lou wants to explore every option,” says his agent, Rob Sheets.
Now, being that Telesco wasn’t in San Diego’s front office in November this isn’t fully his fault; but he is isn’t getting off the hook that easy.
Telesco has had plenty of time to give Vasquez a contract offer that he can’t refuse. Instead he has done nothing but wait around and now Vasquez is going to go out on the market. This could cost the Chargers even more if they truly want to keep him.
On Saturday, the Bolts gave wide receiver Denario Alexander a low restricted free agent tender; meaning that if they are unable to resign Alexander, they would not receive a draft pick from the team that decided to sign him.
Why, for someone that is so important to the Chargers continued success in the future, would the Chargers not put a tender on him that would see some sort of return if he signs elsewhere? This would be yet another questionable move by Telesco in his early tenure.
So far Telesco is 0 for 3 as the new general manager, not exactly what the people of San Diego were hoping for when he was hired back in January.
The new NFL season starts Tuesday, March 12 and Telesco has a lot of work to do in order to save face and give the fans some hope that this season is going to be different than the previous three—all of which resulted in not making the playoffs.
So can Telesco and the rest of the Chargers front office turn around their dismal start to the new regime?
First off, if Vasquez walks they desperately need to sign or draft a lot of offensive linemen. The only position that is set is center Nick Hardwick; the rest remains a big question mark.
The Chargers are hoping to draft offensive tackle Lane Johnson in this coming April’s Draft. If he isn’t available they need to consider Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker or Jonathan Cooper with the 11th overall pick.
San Diego is in desperate need of defensive backs, while being rumored to be letting Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer walk in free agency. Letting those two walk makes just as much sense as cutting Spkies. If they do actually walk, that would be yet another strike against Telesco in his early tenure as the Bolts G.M.
There have been many rumors as to whom Telesco is interested in signing in free agency; one is former Indianapolis Colts’ cornerback Jerraud Powers.
Powers would be a cheaper alternative to Cason, although he lacks the size and overall game experience that Cason has. Over the past five seasons, Cason has played in every single game, totaling 80 straight games played. During the past four seasons, Powers has only participated in 42 games; not playing the full 16 games once in his career.
With that said, letting Cason walk with the hopes of replacing him with Powers is absolutely ludicrous. Antoine Cason is a number one corner—a number one corner that the Chargers are in desperate need of keeping—while Powers is a number two corner at best.
It is very early in the offseason and I have been rather critical of Telesco’s short time in charge of the Bolts, but one can’t help being critical of him as no one wants to see him fall down the same path that A.J. Smith did at the end of his tenure.
In other news, San Diego was able to resign place kicker Nick Novak and long snapper Mike Windt to four-year deals. Not sure why these guys were the first to be signed, but I guess it’s better than nothing.
Stay tuned as the NFL calendar season is starting and there is plenty of time for Telesco to change my mind, but as of right now he is digging himself a big hole.
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