New Defensive Free Agents (Free Agency: Day One)
3/12/13 – by James Fedewa
After the first day of the NFL New Year, several veteran players have been cut/released from their former (respectable) team. There has been some quality players release today. Veterans that have already won big contracts, that might not exactly be in their prime, like:
Inside linebacker, Kevin Burnett
Burnett had a great season in San Diego in 2008 and 2009. He could/should be welcomed back with open arms, even at a discount, but he was a product of AJ Smith, Norv Turner and Ron Rivera, and those fellas are gone. Former position coach John Pagano is still there. Melvin Ingram, Jarrett Johnson, Donald Butler, Larry English and Jonas Mouton don’t exactly intimidate or strike FEAR in anyone’s depths, or even sound good on linebacker paper. Suppose Manti Te’o or Jarvis Jones or James Harrison might sound better (on paper)…
Cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha / Antoine Winfield / Chris Gamble
Two years ago, Nnamdi was the premier free agent pickup. San Diego fans drooled about acquiring him in 2010, but couldn’t afford him. His best seasons were in the AFC West and San Diego needs a savvy veteran starter. You’d think a 2 year $8MM contract might satisfy his high demands, but he’ll probably get triple that amount from some other CB needy bank.
Antoine Winfield might be the cheap vet San Diego needs. Winfield is past his prime at 36, but can help incumbent starters Shareece Wright and Marcus Gilchrist on the basics and fundamentals of being well rounded CB. Winfield is a tackling purest, and one of the better nickel cornerbacks on the market. Winfield is similar in size as Wright and Gilchrist, about 5′ – 9″-ish/ 180 to 190 lbs. and San Diego could really use some length in the secondary. A taller & younger cornerback should be targeted early in the draft.
Chris Gamble is a smart, big, physical veteran starter. At 30 years old, he still has several serviceable years, but will probably get more money than what San Diego can afford (but less than Asomugha). Gamble has threatened retirement though.
Injuries have plagued the Chargers for the last three years, and depth is most important at this point of the NEW San Diego Chargers.
Day ONE Additions:
San Diego picked up a backup mammoth offensive lineman, swing tackle King Dunlap (for much needed depth). They also signed a backup project running back that was very popular at the University of Texas (before he was injured in 2011) named “Fozzy.” Chargers fans should not have expected new GM Tom Telesco to sign any BIG name free agents on day one, and should have expected guard Luis Vazquez to leave for a bigger payday. Telesco will focus on getting San Diego YOUNGER and build through the draft, but should expect value and depth in free agency