So, the Bolts collected $4.5 million in salary-cap room on June 2, as Jared Gaither´s release came with a June 1 designation. After signing first round pick D.J. Fluker, they now got between $2 to $2.5 million left in cap space.
I guess General Tom Telesco wants to get busy in free agency again, but he also will have to leave some money available for potential “emergency” pickups (injuries etc.) during the season.
So, the question will be, which position the Chargers should address with that small amount of money they got left in the pocket?
We already figured out some roster spots that could use some more depth. In my last article write-up we took a closer look at the situation on the defensive line; let´s quickly summarize what we “learned” yesterday.
Cam Thomas is set to be the starter at nose tackle. He´s entering his fourth year in the National Football League and has only recorded five career starts so far. But he is ready to take on the leader role. In April, Tom Telesco brought in two undrafted free agents which line up as nose tackles; Kwame Geathers (6’6”, 342 lbs) and Byron Jerideau (6’0”, 334 lbs). Both guys seem to be very promising and could make the final roster.
He also added two undrafted defensive ends, Jamarkus McFarland and Brandon Moore, but I´m not too sure if they´ll wear a Lightning Bolt uniform next season. Defensive end/tackle Jarius Wynn found his way onto the roster already before the draft and I guess it´s just fair to mention that besides the starters Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes, the Chargers still got Damik Scafe and Logan Harrell on the team.
Definitely not all of those guys will play for Chargers this upcoming season, but these are names of the defensive linemen that currently are listed on the roster.
We´ve also heard voices whispering that D.J. Fluker should be moved to right guard as he “will struggle some at right tackle” because “his feet are just too heavy to pass-block well enough as an NFL tackle”. Whether or not we agree with those comments, we probably have to consider this news as unpleasant possibility at least. It´s surely way too early to say he definitely can´t do it on the right end of the offensive line, but if it becomes apparent in training camp that Fluker is much better at right guard than on the outside, then we got to have a plan how to solve the problems at right tackle.
One possible solution we´ve talked about is to cut Jeromey Clary and sign former Kansas City Chief Eric Winston who is a good zone-blocking lineman and is capable of playing guard as well; Ex-Colt Winston Justice is still available too (and surely would come in at a cheaper price tag). Or we have faith in Clary and put him in competition with Mike Harris…or even Max Starks, who is known for his solid run blocking.
Currently the depth chart of the two tackle spots look like this:
Left tackle: Max Starks, King Dunlap, Nick Becton
Right tackle: D.J. Fluker OR Jeromey Clary, Mike Harris, Brandyn Dombrowski
Should we wait and see if D.J. Fluker can play the position he was drafted for or should we now start to work on a “Plan B”? On this site, you decide.
Last but not least, I want to mention the current cornerback situation. We already know that Marcus Gilchrist is making the transition to strong safety. This means, Shareece Wright and Derek Cox are set to be the starters for 2013. Last year Wright suffered an ankle sprain in the season opener and wasn´t able to return until week 9. Cox has missed 17 games over the past three seasons and 14 over the last two. If they go down again, then this year´s fifth round selection Steve Williams and free agent pick-up Johnny Patrick, who was on the field for only 218 snaps last season, would be the next in line. Tom Telesco also brought in the undrafted free agents Marcus Cromartie, Josh Johnson, Greg Brown and Kenny Okoro. Not all of these guys will make the final roster, but those who will, probably will have to prove themselves on special teams first. And of course, it´s also fair to mention that Greg Gatson is on the roster too.
So, BoltFam, now it´s your turn. Please take part in the poll below and tell us where you think Tom Telesco should spend his (little) money on; i.e. which position is in most urgent need of more depth? Also, feel free to explain your decision in the comments section below.
Thank you for reading and voting!