Chargers Top Three Free Agents: King Dunlap, Brandon Flowers & Ryan Mathews
2/17/15 – by James Fedewa
The 2014 season is finally over and what a long and tortuous NFL season it was. The Chargers had their ups and their downs with some very good pinnacles. Overall it was a great season and it felt good to be a fan. Just missing the playoffs, with a “win you are in” scenario on the last game of the season was epic, but it just didn’t quite finish like Chargers fans wanted it too, but lets move on an look forward to the new (and next) offseason.
So what might fans expect with the Chargers this offseason? There are three major decisions with current San Diego tier one free agents: CB Brandon, OT King Dunlap and RB Ryan Mathews. All are quality players that fill primary needs of the team.
- Brandon Flowers excelled this season, but might demand a big payday salary (again). San Diego might be willing to pay that bill as he played very well, but he turns 29 this season is a smaller cornerback that will probably miss about 3 games per year (on average). Flowers is very zone scheme oriented, but can be a pro-bowl player. Prediction: San Diego will fight to keep him on the roster and pay $31 million, 4 year contract with $17 million guaranteed.
- King Dunlap played admirably on a very weak Chargers offensive line. Sure he was noted as the best linemen on the Chargers roster last year, but it does not mean its payday time for San Diego’s left tackle. Prediction: San Diego gets away with bargain with a three year, $13 million contract, $8 million guaranteed. Reason being, Dunlap is a concussion away from retirement, he is not prototypical (too tall), as he is very (zone blocking) scheme oriented, a liability in the run game and has only excelled in one solid season in his career. He has earn a starting job, but he probably only has two more decent years in the league. King is a product of his coach, so he should stay with his coach (and recruiter), OL Coach Joe-D.
- Ryan Mathews can be a superstar, when healthy. He has the tools, the speed and now the experience that should vault him directly into super stardom, but his “potential” always seems to foreshadow reality. Mathews just cannot stay on the field, as injury concerns make him unreliable. He still has a long career ahead of him, but it probably will not be in San Diego. San Diego will offer him a contract, but it will be minimal and he will probably get a better offer somewhere else. If Mathews can find a team with a very good O-Line, he could be right back in the Pro Bowl. IMO: I expect him to go to a warm weather or dome team that has a good set of backup running backs. If Minnesota or Dallas (if they lose their starters) can pick up Mathews, then he can be a top tier RB. My prediction: Ryan follows Norv Turner to the Vikings, three year $11 million contract, $5 million guaranteed (and Adrian Peterson is released).
Three of the Chargers top free agents: 2 resigned, 1 replaced.
Note: at this current moment, Philip Rivers is also a free agent, but expect him to be a lifelong quarterback in San Diego