I won’t start out this article rehashing the details of the Melvin Ingram situation. I think we all know that he is out for the season, and how this affects our pass rush. I will simply discuss what I am seeing out there in “comment land”. I am a positive guy, and so are many of you. The overwhelming majority of us have faith in the new management, and their ability to recover from this type of unfortunate event. Hopefully, the only blow we will have to absorb will be the fact that we don’t get to see Ingram “beast out” for another year, and that we may have to spend some much needed salary cap money.
What probably stings the most, is that about a month ago, we let Shaun Phillips walk out the door. Many fans felt it was time for the new talent on the team to rise to the occasion, and step into the starting roll, opposite Johnson. There were also people who thought we should do our best to retain Phillips. Denver ended up signing him for a very reasonable price. This shocked a lot of fans, as it didn’t appear that any decent offer was made to keep him. Phillips will play opposite Von Miller, and not behind Ingram & Johnson. So, that reason was probably a big contributor to him leaving. To make things worse, Antwan Barnes was also lost earlier in free agency. With Ingram down, this is “worst case scenario” time.
Now, we are courting Dwight Freeney, and it won’t be cheap. Despite an All-Pro carreer, Freeney only had five sacks in 2012. Freeney spent his career in an Idianapolis Colts 4-3 defense, until the switch was made to 3-4 last year. This may have contributed to the low sack total, as many people point out. Still, this is somewhat alarming, seeing that we will most likely have to sign him to a multi-year deal, and dish out a good chunk of cash. That money was (presumably) to be spent on a left tackle, a strong safety, or saved for a rainy day. In comparison, Shaun Phillips had 9 sacks last year, and was signed for a fraction of what Freeney will cost. You could probably have kept both Phillips & Barnes for what we will pay Freeney, unless Telesco is a magician. Hindsight is definitely 20/20 in this case.
I have been sifting through the posts on here, and on other sites, and there seems to be some disagreement about signing Freeney. Comments range from “YES! Get him signed NOW”, to “He’s overpriced”, to “We need a left tackle more”. Some people are even angry about Telesco letting Barnes & Phillips go in the first place. Others are questioning if Freeney is worth the price or even an upgrade over Phillips, based on last year’s numbers. But, like I said earlier, hindsight is 20/20. We all know that the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league. Especially when it comes to paying a lot of money for an aging veteran pass rusher. Regardless of these facts, fans basically have two opinions. Either we sign another pass rusher (no matter who, or when we do it), or we roll with the youngsters we have now.
What do you think Charger fans? Is signing Freeney a good idea? Is Freeney worth the money? Should the money be used to fill other positions of need, or saved for the future? Did Tom Telesco make a mistake letting Barnes & Phillips go, or was it a necessary gamble that just didn’t pay off? Are the pass rushers we have now capable of stepping up? Should we be patient, and see if one of the OLB’s we have now can rise, or see if anyone becomes available after team cuts are made? If Freeney is signed, what do you think his numbers will look like in 2013? Please let us know how you feel in the comments section below.
As always…. Keep Charging Torward Excellence! Thanks for reading.