Watching Sunday’s epic downfall against the Kansas City Chiefs was not the only thing that was upsetting for the San Diego Chargers.
A dark ominous cloud hovered over the team and fans everywhere as they saw easily the best receiver on the team being carted off the field. Keenan Allen’s face was full of sorrow and disappointment, as he saw his season end before it began. After missing eight games in 2015, Keenan was set to have a breakout year. What he did on the field in Kansas City — six catches for 63 yards — was evidence that a monster year was indeed plausible.
On Monday, word from the Chargers camp was that they are looking to replace Keenan through free agency or from the practice squad.
Clearly, nobody can replace someone like Allen, but here are a few free agent veterans that San Diego might be placing a call to:
Rueben Randle – At 6-foot-2, Randle, 25, is without a home. He has the skills to be very successful in the NFL and has shown bouts of it during his time with the New York Giants. However, there are reports of many missed meetings and a lack of drive from the receiver. Rueben signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in late March of this year, but then was released August 28th due to a lackluster summer and preseason. The latest report was that he tried out for the New Orleans on September 6th. To date he is still unsigned.
Roddy White – A talented receiver with the Atlanta Falcons, the 6-foot White will turn 35 in November. Spending 11 seasons in Atlanta, he is currently the all-time leading receiver. He showed a bit of decline the last two seasons and admitted that he was frustrated with the smaller role in 2015. Roddy wants to play for a contender and seems content to retire if the right situation does not present itself.
Brian Hartline – The Chargers tried out Brian back in early August, however they choose to sign, then later cut, James Jones. Hartline will be 30 this November and at 6-foot-2 he possesses great hands. There were a few injuries — shoulder and collarbone — that impacted his season last year with the Cleveland Browns. However, this possession receiver can continue to help move the chains with a quarterback like Philip Rivers.
Nate Washington – The 33-year-old receiver played for Houston Texans, his third team, in 2015 and had a decent line of 48 catches for 661 yards and four touchdowns. At 6-foot-1, Nate was signed during the offseason with the New England Patriots but was later released. Reports were that he could not get on the same page as Tom Brady. He is still a valuable veteran who has been on two Super Bowl winning teams — both with Pittsburgh Steelers — and can stretch the field.
If San Diego elects to pass on any of these or any other skeptical free agents, there are two wide receivers — one on the practice squad — that could be put in the mix.
Dom Williams (PS) – The 6-foot-2 undrafted receiver out of Washington State, ran a 4.38 40-yard dash with a 40.5 inch vertical at his Pro Day. Williams was left off the invite list for the NFL combine due to the staggering number of drops he had in college. During minicamp, he made some great plays that made a small buzz around camp. At WAZU, he finished his collegiate career second in receiving yards and touchdowns for the Cougars. In watching highlights, Dom has great speed and separation, which is key for the quick-releasing Rivers.
Isaiah Burse – At 5-foot-10, Burse made the active roster due to his kick return ability, as well as an early season-ending injury to fellow wideout Stevie Johnson. Burse has the ability to play the slot and has been with San Diego since November of last year, so he is somewhat acclimated to the offense already.
Who do you think San Diego should sign/promote? Leave your answers below
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Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
With wide receiver Stevie Johnson going under the knife today, the San Diego Chargers moved quickly in signing a wide receiver to fill his spot. Moments ago, San Diego signed former-Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones. Terms of the deal are yet to be disclosed.
According to reports, the Chargers’ had also worked out Brian Hartline and Lance Moore.
Jones, 32, surprisingly was not brought back to Green Bay after he stepped in last season following the injury to star wideout Jordy Nelson. All Jones did was lead the Packers with 50 receptions for 890 yards and eight touchdowns. This year, Jones finds himself in the same position; called out of the free agent void to replace a starting wide receiver that went down to injury.
Hopefully, 2016 will yield similar results. The 6’1″-inch, 200-pound Jones joins Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin as the top-three wideouts on the Chargers’ depth chart.
Take a look at the highlight reel above from his 2015-16 Packers’ season and you see while he’s not the fastest man on the field Jones shows great hands, crisp route running, veteran awareness of his feet in relation to the sidelines and ability to get yards after the catch. This is a great signing by San Diego in my opinion.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
The Chargers face a run of three straight divisional opponents in weeks 6 through 8. They begin in Oakland, return home to face Kansas City and then fly out to Denver to take on the Broncos. This might be the most important stretch of games during the 2014 season.
Having three games against division foes can make or break a season regardless of a current record of 4-1. When it comes down to tie-breakers late in the season toward a push for a playoff spot, the record against the division is incredibly important. The AFC West is one of the better divisions in all of the NFL. When you face teams like Denver and Kansas City, a split with both teams is welcomed in the scheme of things. The Broncos are a formidable opponent and Arrowhead is a very tough place to go to and leave with a win.
And then there’s the week 6 rival in the form of the Oakland Raiders.
I have no problem admitting that the Raider game causes some concern for me. A recently fired head coach replaced by an interim one and they are coming off of their bye. The fact that they are winless provides an even bigger threat, in my opinion. They are looking at each game as though it is their Super bowl. They will, without a doubt, be fighting tooth and nail to obtain their first win of the 2014 campaign.
The Raiders look to have rookie quarterback, Derek Carr, returning from injury and he’ll eventually be a solid signal caller in the NFL. The running game in Oakland has been abysmal. Their offense is ranked 32nd overall and the San Diego defense must find a way to keep them at that ranking. James Jones is a threat at wideout and Denarius Moore can fly. The defensive backfield for the Bolts will have to shut them down to avoid giving up explosive plays.
Although the Raider offense has been inept to this point, their defensive backs have been impressive. Oakland boasts the 4th rated pass defense in the league. The same can’t be said about their run defense. Their defensive unit is currently ranked 31st at stopping the run. Branden Oliver might be set up to top his career day that he had versus the New York Jets.
Every division game is a battle. The Bolts will need to take this game very seriously and they should fly home from Oakland with the very much-needed divisional win.
In week 7 the Bolts come home to face the Chiefs. Alex Smith is known around the league for being a game manager, but he has a few weapons at his disposal that would suggest otherwise. The running game in KC is stout; featuring running back stud Jamaal Charles and newcomer Knile Davis. Defending the run against Kansas City will be paramount in achieving a home win. The defense is highlighted by players like Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Dontari Poe. Houston and Hali form one of the best pass rushing duos in the league. Poe is a serious force to be reckoned with in the middle of the Chief defensive line. Having a safety that is as athletic as Eric Berry doesn’t hurt their chances. That being said, Antonio Gate has owned Berry and made him look silly in coverage on multiple occasions.
And then there is the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. Regardless of how tough the game against the Seahawks was in week 2, this is the true test for the team. With San Diego having faced two straight divisional opponents in a row, Denver is ready to do what they can to build on the fact that they beat San Diego two out of three times last season. Manning has weapons all over the offense including Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas. Yikes. Those are a “host” of players that the San Diego defense will be held accountable for limiting in their production. ( That “host” portion was for you, Dad. )
The Bronco defense added pieces such as DeMarcus Ware, Aquib Talib and T.J. Ward in the offseason during free agency. Minus Ware, the other two players have not contributed as expected. But it is safe to say that Denver upgraded those positions due to those acquisitions.
Peyton is stacked when it comes to options in the receiving game. Lord knows he still has some lead left in that cannon. But his ability to throw deep down the field is no longer like it used to be. John Pagano’s gameplan must be aggressive and he must find a way to rattle Manning and make him nervous.
Now that I’ve run my mouth about the next three games, I’ll leave it to you to provide you thoughts via voting and the comment section. The poll below gives you and opportunity to put in your two cents regarding the 3-game divisional foe stretch the Chargers are about to embark on.
Thanks again for reading and supporting BoltBlitz.com. The readers are why my staff works so hard to give you the best Charger content available. We are always open to your thoughts and suggestions.
In a tweet by former NFL agent Joel Corry, Dwight Freeney has taken a pay cut. Freeney’s salary will now be reduced from $3.5M to $2.5M with a cap number that reduces from $4.75M to $3843,750.
To say that I have no clue what kind of cap space the Chargers currently have is an understatement. I have seen reports of numbers anywhere between $32,000 and over $5.5M.
Below is the tweet from Mr. Corry.
Dwight Freeney took a pay cut from $3.5M to $2.5M. His ’14 cap number goes from $4.75M to $3,843,750 in the process.
— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) March 15, 2014
If you’ve been keeping an eye on free agency for the Bolts this year, then you have probably noticed when a Charger has restructured, another player has soon been signed thereafter. It has not been the case every single time, but pretty darn close.
After missing out on both Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks, could this be a move to make a run at a wide receiver like James Jones? He is the one guy remaining on the market that would certainly be of interest at the wide receiver position.
San Diego is also in the market for starters at both nose tackle and cornerback. If the restructure helps free up some money for either of those spots, or wide receiver, the fans would hopefully walk away from free agency knowing that we are now ready to focus on the draft. That’s not to say that a depth-signing here or there won’t occur, but the team is going to have to save some money to sign their draft class. Not to mention, you always have to have a reserve to sign free agents during the season in case of injuries or Adam Muema-like circumstances.
I’m not proud of that last part. I can’t seem to look away from the train wreck of what has become the situation for the former San Diego State running back.
The Chargers have been active in free agency but have yet to land what most would call a marquee player. My response to that, you ask? Good. Tom Telesco has been doing just as I have expected by signing depth and waiting to build this team through the draft. I am really looking forward to watching this all play out as he works his magic.