Monthly Archives: March 2016
By now, I’m sure you have heard the news, but if you haven’t….
Former Browns WR Travis Benjamin is signing with San Diego Chargers, as @Rand_Getlin reported.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2016
The details of the contract are as follows: four-year, $24 million deal with $13 million guaranteed, according to Adam Schefter.
What he brings to the team:
TBenj brings speed and a deep threat, FINALLY, providing a nice complementary piece to Keenan Allen. TBenj is more than just speed, though, as he is also a decent route runner and is coming off his best season as a pro. Remember, his career numbers include eight different quarterbacks throwing to him and none of which are even close to Philip Rivers’ talent level.
Additionally, the former Brown is a very good punt returner, and that is something that Chargers have lacked since Darren Sproles left. He averaged 11.6 yards per return; for compariso’s sake, Javontee Herndon averaged 7.4 yards a return with 17 less chances. He has the ability to flip the field for the Chargers on occasion and also be that guy the defenses focus on that leaves the middle of the field open for KA13, opening up shorter routes for Stevie Johnson and the newly extended Antonio Gates.
Overall, this is a very nice pickup by general manager Tom Telesco. Benjamin is a solid replacement for the recently retired Malcom Floyd and also gives the Chargers a return game. TBenj could prove to be a sneaky good pickup and the move has already been praised by Fantasy Football Guru, Adam Rank.
I’m going to officially start the hype train for Travis Benjamin right now. He’s poised for a huge breakout with the @Chargers. Nice move.
— Adam Rank (@adamrank) March 9, 2016
Zak “Z-Sizzle” Darman
The Chargers need help in a big way at numerous positions between now and Week 1 of the regular season if they want to make a push for the division and make their first playoff appearance since 2013. The number one thing Tom Telesco should search for in a player is a distinctive nastiness giving them that much-needed enforcer.
The Bolts need help at O-Line, and what better way to beef it up by adding a brute up front. Inconsistent play has led to a porous run game that yields next to nothing, and Philip Rivers finds himself on his behind a lot more than he should be.
Re-signing Joe Barksdale to a four-year, $22.2 million deal that includes $10.5 million guaranteed was a step in the right direction to help rectify that problem. Also, the Chargers have a lack of depth and experience at receiver with Keenan Allen being the only receiver with continuity with Rivers, as he’s served as one of Rivers’ three core targets over the last two and a half seasons.
Lastly, the Bolts’ D-Line resembles that of a pillow fight. It almost feels like it’s impossible to get pressure on opposing signal callers and get stops in the run game. The Chargers can go out and sign a quality D-Lineman or a run-stuffing specialist.
There’s plenty of talent out there this year, but, most importantly, they need to snag a defensive enforcer off of the market. A player that will not only be a good influence in the locker room and the community, but a player that will get the team fired up in practices, on game days and will keep them amped up throughout the duration of contests. That being said, there are a couple of names out there who I believe fit that category, and I even have a couple combo signings/draftees that together could bring that to the team.
Derrick Johnson (MLB; Kansas City Chiefs): A player that I like for the Chargers’ defense is someone who I cannot envision in a different uniform than the one he is currently in and that is Derrick Johnson. Johnson was the catalyst for an elite Chiefs defense and although he was one the shelf for virtually all of the 2014 season, he had a solid bounce back campaign in 2015 with 116 total tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and eight passes defended. Johnson would be an instant impact from the moment he puts the pen to the paper.
He impacts every facet of the game, while possessing undeniable talent. He also plays the run well and can cover running backs out of the backfield. Johnson is entering his 11th year in the NFL. What stands out most is a career 68 passes defended. He is by no means afraid to step up and cover anybody across the middle or creeping outside of the numbers.
Not only would Johnson be a huge help with his leadership on the field, but his locker room presence has the ability to bring everybody together and make them really play for each other like they should be doing. San Diego has the talent and tools on the defensive side of the ball, but they lack the grit and determination to be a truly imposing defense. A Johnson-Te’o-Perryman trio could have the potential to stir up some ruckus on that side of the ball, and when you add that to Ingram and Attaochu rushing, with the possibility of drafting Bosa, the defense would have fun and fans would be thrilled while watching them perform. That’s what Johnson can bring to the table.
He makes everybody better and, in addition to all of this, he knows the Chiefs’ defense and could provide leverage on those key divisional clashes. We couldn’t picture LT in another jersey; same with Peyton, Dwight Freeney, and even McNabb. But it certainly does happen. Let’s see if the Bolts can pry Johnson away from KC.
Tashaun Gipson + Jalen Ramsey: Next up is a signing and draftee duo. They go by the names of Tashaun Gipson and Jalen Ramsey. Gipson has grappled with health issues during his tenure in the NFL, as he’s only played one full season during his four seasons in the league. But when he’s healthy, he is indeed a playmaker and a highly qualified candidate to replace Weddle. He plays fast and can play the run, as well playing in space.
Jalen Ramsey is just about as good as they come. His broad jump, 135.0″ and his vertical leap of 41.5″ were the best at the combine and matched the likes of Patrick Peterson. He could improve on his speed, but I would really like the Chargers to select him with the third pick, and sit back and watch the Bolts groom him into a dominant, energetic force on a soon to be electric defense.
These two would bring a new element to the Chargers’ defense that would be not only highly flexible, but would add to an already up-and-coming unit lead by stud Jason Verrett. I don’t expect Telesco to go safety in the draft if he goes after Gipson, but this combo would be very nice to have. This obviously means Addae would be relegated to the bench again.
That is something I don’t mind as he seems to thrive in that role, and to be completely honest, I don’t trust him as a starter. What he lacks in speed he surely makes up for with power and hitting, but his big plays always seem to get nullified by flags. San Diego would rather prefer conservative tackling’ especially with the way the league is becoming receiver friendly, and that’s something that is not Addae’s forte.
Chris Long: Another signing that would bolster the defense is recently released DE Chris Long. Primarily a 4-3 player in St. Louis, it would be a slight stylistic shift, but I’m sure Long wouldn’t scoff at making that adjustment. He wasn’t cut due to performance issues or battles with injuries, a contractual stalemate between he and the Rams was the reason for his release.
I can see Long coming in on a two-year, $9 million deal and being a more dynamic Jarret Johnson. Johnson was a reliable tackler as well as a great locker room presence. Chris Long could be “the guy” in a system tailored for him, and I believe that system to be John Pagano’s. What’s best about Long is that the Chargers could get him for a bargain. He’s not so much an enforcer or an outlaw, but he’s the next best thing.
Joey Bosa: Lastly, a guy that sticks out more than all the others is Joey Bosa. The Ohio State Buckeye is projected to go top five in a slew of mock drafts, and the Bolts hold the No. 3 pick. With the Browns’ situation at QB, it wouldn’t be too unrealistic to see them go searching for a QB at No. 2, leaving the Chargers either Bosa or Ramsey to choose from.
Either of them make sense and would propel this defense to destructive heights, but Bosa is a freak of nature. His body is NFL ready and he boasts an ultra-competitive attitude. Bosa could not be slowed by the opposition in college even when specifically schemed for, illustrating the level of talent he claims. He was constantly in the backfield whether it be for a sack or a tackle for loss. His firm and strong hands are a huge reason as to why he can be a defensive pillar in the NFL, but Pagano must be willing to move him around.
A player such as JJ Watt cannot be duplicated, but when you are compared to him in any way, you know you’re doing something right. His speed is a rough patch, but there’s always time to get faster. Adding him to this defense will not only take the heat off some of the cornerbacks, but would alleviate pressure off of most everyone on defense. This, in turn, would spawn more wins, less communication errors and, importantly, happier fans.
Per NFL Insider Adam Schefter and other NFL media outlets, San Diego Chargers tight end Ladarius Green is about to become a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Former Chargers TE Ladarius Green is expected to sign with
the Pittsburgh Steelers, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2016
After signing Antonio Gates to a two-year deal Wednesday, Green was high on the Chargers’ priority list. San Diego GM Tom Telesco said in the media that he was going to the NFL Combine to speak to the agents for both tight ends in hopes of re-signing them.
Green was the Chargers fourth-round pick in 2012. Expected to be the heir apparent to Antonio Gates, Green suffered with injuries and concussions. Although he showed flashes of the potential the Chargers expected, Green was slow to develop. There has been enough good tape on Green for the Steelers to woo him to play in the Steel City in an already loaded offense.
Green finished his tenure with the Bolts with 77 receptions for 1,087 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Chargers have applied a second-round tender to former undrafted free agent safety Jahleel Addae, according to Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY.
Sounds like #Chargers will protect their rights on safety Jahleel Addae with a second-round tender ($2.553M). From undrafted to starter.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 9, 2016
The tender sets the bar for Addae’s one-year salary at $2.553 million should he return to the Chargers. If he is signed to an offer by another team and the Bolts do not match the offer, the team will receive a second-round draft choice as compensation.
In all likelihood, defensive coordinator John Pagano will get one of his favorite defenders back, at least for one season, as I can’t see a team willing to give up a second-round selection for the services of Addae.
Bringing back Addae makes sense due to the inevitable loss of All-Pro safety Eric Weddle, providing the secondary with some continuity despite the soon-to-be loss of Weddle.
At the end of the 2015 season San Diego Chargers tight end was quoted as saying he wanted to play one more year. The sting of a dismal 4-12 season was too much to bear as the end of his future Hall-Of-Fame career. A week ago Chargers GM Tom Telesco told media he was going to the combine with the intention of speaking with the agents for Gates and Ladarius Green. Bringing back the master and apprentice would solidify the tight end position for years to come.
Half of that mission is now accomplished.
Antonio Gates has signed on the dotted line for two more seasons in lightning bolts. According NFL Insider Rand Getlin the deal is for two years at $12 million with $6 million guaranteed. The most prolific quarterback to tight end combination in NFL history is still intact, ready for one last playoff run.
Aside from the record, the season started on the wrong foot for Gates last season. Gates was suspended for four games for performance-enhancing drugs. Holistic medicines and supplements in his diet were the cause for his positive test according to Gates but his explanations were not enough to overturn his suspension.
Despite losing a quarter of the season, Gates was second on the team in receiving behind Keenan Allen with 630 yards on 56 catches. He also led all wide receivers and tight ends with five touchdown catches. Only Danny Woodhead had more yards and touchdowns, operating from the running back slot.
Gates told the media shortly after the season ‘I can’t go out like that.’ To that end, the groundbreaking tight end has honored his words and will once again assume his slot in the most prolific quarterback to tight end combination in NFL history.
There are still milestones to reach for Gates this season that are almost locks to come to fruition if he makes it through the season healthy:
With eight touchdown receptions, Gates will surpass Tony Gonzalez into first place for most touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history. Gates will have achieved the distinction in three fewer seasons than Gonzalez.
With 600 yards receiving Gates can vault from 38 to 32nd on the all-time receiving yardage list.
With 60 receptions Gates will move from 27th to 20th place on the All-time receptions list. Only two other tight ends are ahead of him on the list, Gonzalez and Jason Witten.
A key of the puzzle is now back in the fold with Gates’ signing. Green, long overdue to emerge from Gates’ shadow, will do well to learn all he can and work on ways to stay healthy in the process. Injuries have been the key cause of his stunted development.
One last time, let the Gates open and the Rivers flow.
The Greg One
The Chargers have agreed to terms with Antonio Gates, according to sources, reports NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
The #Chargers agreed to terms to keep TE Antonio Gates, source said
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2016
While on NFL Network, Rapoport stated that the team got the deal done about four hours before the deadline.
The future Hall of Famer will be returning to play for the only NFL team he has ever played for, the San Diego Chargers.
Happy to remain a @Chargers . My intentions have always been to retire in San Diego . No place I’d rather be. Best Fans and organization.
— Antonio Gates (@AntonioGates85) March 9, 2016
In what turned out to be a slow beginning to the NFL’s “legal tampering” period, the San Diego Chargers made their first move of free agency.
The Bolts re-signed offensive lineman Joe Barksdale to a four-year, $22.2 million deal with $10.5 million in guaranteed money on Monday, according to multiple reports.
God is so good
— Joseph Barksdale (@BazookaJoe72) March 8, 2016
Barksdale earned accolades from his teammates in 2015 as he was voted the team’s Offensive lineman of the Year award.
Playing all 16 games for the third consecutive season (one with San Diego, two with St. Louis), Barksdale was the only Chargers’ O-lineman to start and play in each and every game.
Barksdale, 28, was signed last offseason to a one-year, $2 million contract. It goes without saying that he received a significant pay raise with Monday’s re-signing. It will be very interesting to see exactly how well he was rewarded.
I expect the team to use today to make moves in order to re-sign tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green. Patrick Robinson is also a name who will be discussed. Then, when free agency officially opens up on Wednesday, the team will become serious contenders for going after free agents from opposing teams.
It’s officially here.
The 2015-2016 NFL season will officially be over. Today, hope springs eternal once again. The new league year has begun and free agents are fair game to every team in the league.
The weeks leading up to free agency are filled with teams jockeying to free up enough money to fill gaps in their roster. Experienced veterans will be cut not because they are not producing but because they make too much money. Decisions on franchise and transition tags will be made and trade possibilities will be discussed.
To that end, a story that sent shockwaves through the league just a week ago can greatly change the fortunes of the downtrodden San Diego Chargers.
Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl center Alex Mack voided the last three years of his contract, making him a free agent. Mack is a little known name to the casual NFL fan but his name undoubtedly got General Managers around the league drooling like Pavlov’s dogs.
For the uninitiated, here’s all you need to know about Alex Mack:
Standing at 6’4″, 311 lbs., Mack is a seven-year veteran who has made the Pro Bowl in two of the last three seasons. He is considered the best center in the NFL, and is set to sign the biggest contract for a center in the NFL with whomever he decided to play for next season.
Mack is 30 and has made the Pro Bowl in three of his seven seasons (2010, ’13, 15). The only reason he didn’t make it in 2014 was due to a broken leg he suffered five games into the season. Until the injury, Mack has not missed a single game at center. He returned to his Pro Bowl form immediately upon returning last season and is set to be an annual participant for the duration of his career.
San Diego needs to make Mack their top priority. The offensive line has been a major downfall for the team for many seasons. Signing a time-tested All-Pro veteran like Mack will be huge in solidifying the turnstile on the offensive line. The Chargers have not had a great center since Nick Hardwick retired in 2014. The position has been unstable with Chris Watt and Trevor Robinson sharing the duties since then. The two are servicable centers but neither are the long term answer.
This is the time for the San Diego front office to show their commitment to winning after a miserable 2015 campaign and the whole stadium fiasco on the shelf at least for this year. The window on Rivers’ career is closing. Keeping him upright by adding championship-caliber players will produce a championship-caliber team.
Teams are now able to start contacting the agents of free agents to make deals. Bolts GM Tom Telesco should have Macks’ agent on speed dial with offers from the word go. It will take the largest contract the Chargers have given to a non-quarterback in a long while, but you get what you pay for. Quality.
The Greg One
With Eric Weddle as good as gone via free agency, there is no question the San Diego Chargers must consider searching for his replacement this offseason. That brings us to the draft. There is a certain talent in this year’s pool of NFL hopefuls that could help make the post-Weddle era as smooth as possible: Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey.
Weight: 209 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.41 sec
Vert: 41.5 inches*
Broad Jump: 135 inches*
*Best combine result among his position
Athlete. That is the first word you think of when you see this kid’s tape. He will blow you up with a big hit, he will wrap you up for the sure tackle and he will display some of the best cover skills you could ask for from a rook. He has top-notch speed and athleticism, allowing him to make play after play in coverage. One thing that stood out to me was how smart he looked on the field. There are certain plays where you can tell he spends some time in the film room and puts it to use on gameday.
One of few knocks against his game is why he’s being considered as the third player taken in the draft. While he played mostly as a corner in college, many scouts believe he’s better suited as a safety in the pros. He must still work on his hips, as well as showing a little more leadership on the field.
Ramsey is a prime-time athlete who has rangy ability to make plays on any level of the field. He just needs a little bit more of a nasty streak to bring some aggressiveness to a defense that has lacked that trait for some time.
For more on Ramsey:
The move has not been officially announced yet, but the San Diego Chargers will release inside linebacker Donald Butler if not today, soon.
On his Twitter account, Butler said his goodbye to his teammates and the fans:
— Donald Butler (@DAButler56) March 3, 2016
Butler, 27, played in San Diego for six seasons and compiled 373 combined tackles, 12 passes defensed, 3 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles and one touchdown.
In the end, Butler’s salary cap number was too high and his on-field production was too low for the Chargers to justify keeping Butler in the fold. Taking his place will be promising linebacker Denzel Perryman, who had assumed Butlers’ starting spot in the lineup halfway through the season and finished the season as the starter.
Like many others, Butler will look to restart his career with a new team through free agency which begins next week. Best of luck, Donald. That is, unless you sign in the AFC West.
The Greg One