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Free Agency: Sidney Rice a better fit for Bolts than Steve Smith?

When sifting through recent rumors and speculations of the San Diego Chargers there is one name that keeps popping up, Steve Smith. Smith is one of the most physical Wide Receivers in the game today and has produced great statistics even when the Carolina offense continues to stutter. His time in Carolina is looked at as finished and he still has some solid years left in the tank. Unlike most analysts and bloggers, I do not see the solid fit for him in San Diego and here are 3 reasons why.

1. San Diego likes tall receivers: Plain and simple. When was the last time you saw the Chargers bring on a big name WR under 6′ tall? Chris Chambers was the shortest man in the Bolts recent history at WR and he was just an inch under 6 feet tall and he only lasted 2.5 seasons in our offense. Given that Steve Smith plays at a level in which Chambers could never bring to our offense, I just don’t see the height issue being overlooked. Smith is just 5’9″ and if utilized properly would be used in the slot. But wait, we just drafted Vincent Brown who will step in as a Rookie starter in the slot at 5’11″.

2. He isn’t getting any younger: Smith has 11 seasons under his belt now and will be 33 this season. This doesn’t bode well for his search of a long term contract. If he was going to land in San Diego, it would have to be on a short term, low guaranteed money contract. With $15 million left in the remaining 2 years of his contract, he would have to do some serious restructuring before San Diego gives him a closer look.

3. Coming off a poor season with injuries:

Smith caught 46 passes last season for 554 yards and two TDs — his lowest full-season totals since his rookie year, when he was primarily a returner. He said in the report he played through a quad pull, a left leg injury and a rolled ankle for much of the season but never mentioned it — not even to the training staff, until they could tell something was not right. “They were like, ‘What’s going on? You’re limping.’ It just kind of spiraled from there,” he said. “Did I lose a step? Anyone would lose a step when you’re playing on one leg. I just tried to play through it, and ultimately I looked slow. Instead of 31 (years old), I looked 41. Instead of coming out and gathering myself and taking a backseat, I tried to play through it — and it backfired. – www.CBSsports.com

When breaking down the facts and looking at the trends of the San Diego Chargers, I like the looks of Sindey Rice much better. Rice has the assets at 6’4″ with great hands and an ability to burn defenses to get open for the deep ball. He is still young in his career at age 25 this season and has proved himself to be a great receiving threat in the NFL. Yes, he is coming off an injury but take a look at what kind of stats he put up when he has a solid Quarterback in Brett Favre throwing to him. Even after returning to action in 2010 with Tarvaris Jackson at Quarterback against Buffalo he put up 105 yards and 2 td’s. (Not to mention that the Vikings offense was a total mess at that point.) In 2009, Rice hauled in 1,312 yards and 8 td’s. He has tons of potential, and if he stays healthy he will make a team very happy for a long time. He will be looking for a major contract but he fits the role that the San Diego Chargers are looking for and would bring a great outside/deep threat for Rivers to launch to.

Here is how the pass game would look: Rivers behind center with Gates lined up at TE, V-Jax and Rice on the outside, and Vincent Brown in the slot. This is a virtually unstoppable lineup that would give defenses headaches for years to come and could be just the kind of “Charge” that the Bolts need to finally hold up that Lombardi trophy!

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Tags: Carolina Panthers Minnesota Vikings Sidney Rice Steve Smith

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