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  #1  
Old 11-08-2012, 11:02 AM
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Default 2013 Free Agency Preview

Watching the Chargers season unfold, one thing has become very apparent to me: we are not going to be able to address all our major needs this offseason through the draft. This year will be another in which we will need to spend on a few key free agents if we want to enter the next season anywhere near being a "complete team."

The way I see it, OG, OLB, OT, and CB all need to be addressed with either a key veteran acquisition or a high draft choice (1st or 2nd round). One could also make the case that RB, TE, ILB, and NT will be in varying statuses of "neediness." Below I've highlighted the likely individuals at each position. Feel free to add and/or discuss. Note, I am leaving out players that I feel are too unrealistic to consider, though of course anyone is welcome to bring up players I've left off.
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Mock

1. K. Fuller, CB, Va. Tech
2. C. Latimer, WR, Indiana
3. C. Reid, NT, Princeton
4. J. Gayle, OLB, Va. Tech
5. B. Thomas, G, Clemson
6. J. Urschel, C, Penn State
7. B. Allen, NT, Wisconsin

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  #2  
Old 11-08-2012, 11:04 AM
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Guard: Vasquez, Green, Hadnot, and Dombrowski are all UFA's this offseason. That means Troutman is the only guy under contract for 2013. Additionally, Vasquez is the only one of the bunch that should be retained at a starter's salary. Green is only keepable if he is ready to return to a backup role. Here are the free agent guards that catch my eye:
  • Andy Levitre, Buffalo: Levitre's size belies his ability to maul defensive linemen when he is in his groove. He's solid in pass pro as well. He and Vasquez will be the two best FA guards on the market this offseason, and I firmly believe that keeping the one and adding the other would be a big step towards establishing a dangerous running attack.
  • Chilo Rachal, Chicago: Rachal has been a major bust to this point in his career, but for the first time in 2012 he is showing signs of life. He got himself into the best shape of his career this offseason and proceeded to beat out Chris Spencer for the starting left guard position. He is probably not a major upgrade from Green at this point, but Levitre is really the only clear cut step up that figures to be available.
  • Brandon Moore, New York (Jets): Moore is a completely unbalanced player- he is perennially one of the best pass protecting guards in the NFL and one of the worst run blockers. But he might serve as a good veteran option if the team feels that Troutman is primed to win the left guard spot as a 2nd year player. He would definitely provide better depth than Hadnot.
  • Ryan Lilja, Kansas City: Lilja continues to be a very reliable interior lineman, even as he crosses over into the middle thirties. Like Moore, he would only really be a good option if they want some veteran competition and depth behind a youngster like Troutman. Added bonus at center as he has shown very capable there ever since Rodney Hudson went down.
My Choice: Andy Levitre. He would be an upgrade in both phases and could pair with Vasquez to give us a very respectable tandem. If Troutman ends up excelling, then we'll just have an excellent backup.
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Mock

1. K. Fuller, CB, Va. Tech
2. C. Latimer, WR, Indiana
3. C. Reid, NT, Princeton
4. J. Gayle, OLB, Va. Tech
5. B. Thomas, G, Clemson
6. J. Urschel, C, Penn State
7. B. Allen, NT, Wisconsin

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  #3  
Old 11-08-2012, 11:06 AM
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Tackle: While none of our current tackles are due to hit the market in 2013, we still need to upgrade at the position. Clary's play has been up and down this year, but he's due a big bump in salary in 2013- he's just not worth it. Gaither, aside from the lapses, is a stud. But he's not durable and Harris isn't an acceptable plan B at this point. Harris lacks the athleticism for the left side and, at least for now, the power he needs to man the right. He may end up being a decent swing tackle in time but I don't want him starting at his current ability level.
  • Sebastian Vollmer, New England: When healthy, Vollmer has been the best RT in football as far as I'm concerned. He's a very unlikely candidate, but would at once make us much more effective on the right side and a lot more protected from injury on the left (Vollmer can, and has played LT and would be a much better #2 option than Harris). New England is very likely to pay to keep him and he will probably be due a huge contract regardless of who obtains his services in 2013.
  • Jermon Bushrod, New Orleans: I think Bushrod has proven in 2012 that he is not the ideal choice for a franchise left tackle. He may be better off moving to the right side where he won't be tested as much in pass protection. That said, he's still a quality player who could upgrade RT while giving us a sterling insurance policy behind Gaither. But he's also likely to cost a pretty penny.
  • Andre Smith, Cincinnati: Once Smith got in shape, he didn't turn out to be such a bad player. He's excellent in protection and decent in the running game and would certainly represent an upgrade for us. The caveat here is that there will always be looming concerns about his commitment and work ethic. He's the type of player that I would be very leary of signing to a big deal as he fits the profile of the guy that gets paid and quits. High risk/reward here.
  • Phil Loadholt, Minnesota: Loadholt has shown steady progress for the Vikings over the course of his short career to date. He's a heck of a drive blocker and has been passable in protection this season. He's always going to struggle with elite speed as many right tackles do, but his great length helps him overcome that at times where other, smaller players might fail. He would represent an upgrade at RT, but without the attractive bonus of being able to play the left side in a pinch.
  • William Beatty, New York (Giants): Beatty is a borderline starting caliber left tackle. He probably wouldn't play the right side for us, but he would at least give us one of the better backups in the league on the blindside. The issue here is that he is likely to cost more than what teams would prefer to spend on depth players.
  • King Dunlap, Philadelphia: Dunlap surprised everyone by winning the starting LT job over Demetress Bell when Jason Peters went down. He's not an ideal starter, but he would make a quality backup. Physically, he's probably the most similar player in the league to Gaither, which would be the prospect of the two of them on the same team at the same position amusing.
My Choice: King Dunlap. I think we can find an upgrade at RT in the 2nd round this year that wouldn't cost so much money. Dunlap shouldn't be expensive and would give us recourse of Gaither has to be held out.
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Mock

1. K. Fuller, CB, Va. Tech
2. C. Latimer, WR, Indiana
3. C. Reid, NT, Princeton
4. J. Gayle, OLB, Va. Tech
5. B. Thomas, G, Clemson
6. J. Urschel, C, Penn State
7. B. Allen, NT, Wisconsin


Last edited by Kemp17; 11-08-2012 at 06:29 PM..
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2012, 11:08 AM
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Cornerback: Antoine Cason, Chris Carr, and Quentin Jammer hit the market this offseason. Cason needs to be allowed to go elsewhere, while Jammer is merely a stop-gap player if we do indeed bring him back. A veteran corner would be an ideal acquisition for this team as rookies rarely play well at the position.
  • Derek Cox, Jacksonville: Cox struggles to stay healthy, but he's a quality cover man when he's on the field. He's tall for a corner, making him a valuable commodity in today's era of large receivers. Best of all, he's fairly young (26). If the durability concerns keep the price tag from becoming prohibitive, he's a guy I would go after in a heartbeat (just better have some decent depth).
  • Brent Grimes, Atlanta: Grimes is the big "boom or bust" free agent of 2013. On the one hand he'll be over 30 coming off one of the more problematic of football injuries (achilles rupture), which generally takes a full two years to recover from. On the other hand, he was one of the league's premier cover corners at the time of his injury, still in his prime. I am personally against making a move for him, as achilles ruptures are so hard to come back from and he will probably be expensive.
  • Chris Houston, Detroit: Houston is a decent coverage man who has been overmatched in the #1 role for the Lions. He's a good fit as a #2 corner and, in that regard, would be a big step up from Cason's putrid 2012 performance. While undersized, Houston shows the fluidity and speed to stick in most receivers hip pockets and I doubt he'd need to give every opponent a ten yard cushion off the line.
  • Jerraud Powers, Indianapolis: Similiar to Houston, Powers was a good #2 caliber cornerbacker who was clearly out of his depth in the #1 role before Vontae Davis came to town. He is young and remains a good fit for a good team's #2 or 3 cornerback. I have never seen him in the nickel, but he profiles as a guy who should be able to cover the slot fairly well.
  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Philadelphia: DRC is not all that dissimilar to Cason: all the quality parts are there, but the thing just doesn't work right. Sometimes a change of scenery helps, but I doubt it in this case (he's already had that). His athleticism still might warrant a one year "prove it" deal, not unlike what Tracy Porter was given this offseason.
  • Leodis McKelvin, Buffalo: Reclamation project? McKelvin has never been consistently good over the course of his time in Buffalo, but he's never been consistently bad either. He just gives up too many big plays. Given that issue, I wouldn't want him as a guy we count upon to start, but I wouldn't mind him as the 3rd or 4th guy on the depth chart. He seems capable over the slot and offers a bonus as a quality return man.
My Choice: Derek Cox. I think this is the position we need to spend the most on in FA. You just don't get many rookie corners who can play above average. Cox isn't super durable, but he's very talented and we could keep Jammer around for insurance.
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Mock

1. K. Fuller, CB, Va. Tech
2. C. Latimer, WR, Indiana
3. C. Reid, NT, Princeton
4. J. Gayle, OLB, Va. Tech
5. B. Thomas, G, Clemson
6. J. Urschel, C, Penn State
7. B. Allen, NT, Wisconsin

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  #5  
Old 11-08-2012, 11:10 AM
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Outside Linebacker: Though he has not lived up to our lofty predicitions, Ingram is a quality player who I believe will man the left side of our defense for a decade. Johnson is a quality veteran to have around, but Phillips is going to be a 30+ year old FA, and Barnes is also due to hit the market. One of those latter two could be retained, but neither are good enough to be the starter at the key pass rush position in a 3-4 defense: ROLB. English might stick around as a depth guy, but he's barely worth mentioning.
  • Connor Barwin, Houston: Barwin has not come close to replicating his 2011 producition in the first half of our current season, but he has at least gotten himself on track over the last couple of weeks. How he plays the second half will determine how highly sought after he is on the open market. He is probably a better option than Phillips at this point, being a little more well-rounded and younger, but not by a very wide margin. I wouldn't hate having him here, but I think we could allocate resources more effectively.
  • Cliff Avril, Detroit: Avril's down year he's having might make this offseason a good time for a team to buy low. I think he belongs in a 3-4 (he played a lot of linebacker at Purdue). He compares favorably to Shaun Phillips. He does currently play LE for the Lions and I doubt he would be a long term solution at ROLB for us, but he would likely be a good pass rusher to add to the mix. The issue for me with Avril is upstairs (i.e. I don't think he's super bright). He doesn't strike me as the type of guy that this organization would target, but that's just speculation.
  • Anthony Spencer, Dallas: It seems clear that Dallas intends to let Spencer walk this coming offseason as he has never done more than produce average numbers, despite playing across from arguably the most attention-grabbing pass rusher in the league. He would obviously be a great rotational piece in a 3-4 defense, but I have a feeling his price tag will go way past a "rotational" salary. Certainly not a final answer at ROLB (though Barwin is the only guy I see approaching that and he's not even really a lock for the kind of production we would be looking for).
  • Victor Butler, Dallas: Butler has been a pretty good rotating pass rusher for the Cowboys. He's currently viewed as the heir apparent to Spencer (though they will likely draft someone as well), so I doubt that both he and Spencer will be allowed to walk. If he does hit the market, he would provide good depth (an upgrade over English essentially).
  • Paul Kruger, Baltimore: The Ravens have been forced to use Kruger at ROLB this season in the wake of Suggs' injury. It hasn't gone very well for the 26 year old, as he's struggled to generate pressure. He would clearly be better off going back to a rotational approach- coming in fresh to spell a starter now and again. In that regard, he would merely provide depth, but it might be better depth than what we have now at other positions.
My Choice: Paul Kruger or Victor Butler. I think we need to find an upper echelon pass rusher in the draft rather than spend on a borderline guy like Barwin and hope he regains 2011 form. Kruger or Butler would be good depth.
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Mock

1. K. Fuller, CB, Va. Tech
2. C. Latimer, WR, Indiana
3. C. Reid, NT, Princeton
4. J. Gayle, OLB, Va. Tech
5. B. Thomas, G, Clemson
6. J. Urschel, C, Penn State
7. B. Allen, NT, Wisconsin

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  #6  
Old 11-08-2012, 11:11 AM
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Other Notables: While not as dire as the four positions I've highlighted, I think the organization is going to need to give RB, TE, NT, and ILB a hard look. Here are a few mention-worthy players at those positions to think about.
  • Steven Jackson, St. Louis: While clearly not a feature back any more, I think Jackson has proven that he's still an effectively runner this season behind a lackluster and oft-injured offensive line. He has reliable hands and would be a good veteran presence to pair with Mathews. Also, as we've seen with running backs at Jackson's age, he would probably be pretty cheap.
  • Martellus Bennett, New York (Giants): With McMichael needing to retire, the Chargers need to find themselves a tight end that can block. Bennett fits that bill, and has shown a lot more as a pass catcher this season. He would likely give the running game a boost, while providing another target in the wake of Gates' decline.
  • Isaac Sopoaga, San Francisco: Sopoaga's play has been down this season, but it's hard to notice when he's surrounded by the 49ers front seven. I actually prefer the way that Franklin is playing right now, but Sopoaga would still be a viable veteran to pair with Thomas as we continue to figure out what the future of the position is.
  • Bradie James, Houston: James is still a functional two down linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He would be a good option if the team or Takeo decides it's time to retire, as I'm sure they'll want to hedge their bet on Jonas Mouton. In the case that the FO or a new regime decides they don't like Mouton to start at all, Rey Maualuga might be one to look at. He has always seemed like a better fit in a 3-4 to me.
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Mock

1. K. Fuller, CB, Va. Tech
2. C. Latimer, WR, Indiana
3. C. Reid, NT, Princeton
4. J. Gayle, OLB, Va. Tech
5. B. Thomas, G, Clemson
6. J. Urschel, C, Penn State
7. B. Allen, NT, Wisconsin


Last edited by Kemp17; 11-08-2012 at 06:23 PM..
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  #7  
Old 11-08-2012, 02:01 PM
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First of all, thank you for spending the time to write all of this. I really hope we do sign a tackle/guard in FA. I firmly believe will be grabbing either a CB/OLB in the first next draft.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:25 PM
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Great job Kemp17! Keep your insightful posts coming.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kemp17 View Post
Other Notables: While not as dire as the four positions I've highlighted, I think the organization is going to need to give RB, TE, NT, and ILB a hard look. Here are a few mention-worthy players at those positions to think about.
  • Steven Jackson, St. Louis: While clearly not a feature back any more, I think Jackson has proven that he's still an effectively runner this season behind a lackluster and oft-injured offensive line. He has reliable hands and would be a good veteran presence to pair with Mathews. Also, as we've seen with running backs at Jackson's age, he would probably be pretty cheap.
  • Martellus Bennett, Dallas: With McMichael needing to retire, the Chargers need to find themselves a tight end that can block. Bennett fits that bill, and has shown a lot more as a pass catcher this season. He would likely give the running game a boost, while providing another target in the wake of Gates' decline.
  • Isaac Sopoaga, San Francisco: Sopoaga's play has been down this season, but it's hard to notice when he's surrounded by the 49ers front seven. I actually prefer the way that Franklin is playing right now, but Sopoaga would still be a viable veteran to pair with Thomas as we continue to figure out what the future of the position is.
  • Bradie James, Houston: James is still a functional two down linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He would be a good option if the team or Takeo decides it's time to retire, as I'm sure they'll want to hedge their bet on Jonas Mouton. In the case that the FO or a new regime decides they don't like Mouton to start at all, Rey Maualuga might be one to look at. He has always seemed like a better fit in a 3-4 to me.
First of all great post and thank you for the time and effort you spent for this post. But one little error, bennett is on the Giants not Cowboys(he was on the Cowboys last year). If we can get him, it would be great to have a good run blocker as well as a huge, athletic TE for Rivers to pass the ball too.
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  #10  
Old 11-08-2012, 06:26 PM
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Appreciate it guys. Hopefully a few of these players will be wearing bolts in 2013.
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Mock

1. K. Fuller, CB, Va. Tech
2. C. Latimer, WR, Indiana
3. C. Reid, NT, Princeton
4. J. Gayle, OLB, Va. Tech
5. B. Thomas, G, Clemson
6. J. Urschel, C, Penn State
7. B. Allen, NT, Wisconsin

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