Oct.14, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) leaps over St. Louis Rams outside linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar (58) during the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Dolphins won 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

10 Free Agents that Would Instantly Improve the Chargers' Defense


Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Dwight Freeney (93) on the field after being injured during the first half against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

We found out Monday that Dwight Freeney will likely be out for the season with a torn quadriceps. Its sad to see him go down after he was having such a great year, even if he wasn’t blowing up the stat sheet.

The Chargers brass need to start shopping for replacements, but TT isn’t going to find a more talented free agent pass rusher at this stage in the season. Luckily (read: looking at the silver lining), there are better free agents at other positions and the Chargers could use help all across the defense to replace the impact of Freeney. This is my list of free agents that could instantly improve the defense:


10. Jordan Babineaux, SS, 30, 6’0″, 210

Babineaux has always struggled against the pass and would not be a huge improvement over Marcus Gilchrist in that respect. However, Babineaux can still play well in the box and he could relieve some pressure on Eric Weddle to play in the box on every. single. down.



Feb 5, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws in the pocket during the first half with pressure from New England Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson (95) in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

9. Mark Anderson, OLB, 30, 6’4″, 255

Anderson is a skilled situational pass rusher coming off a knee injury. He could be worth the risk, however, as he has shown flashes of dominance with a 10 sack season in 2011 with the Patriots, and a 12 sack season his rookie year in 2006 with the Bears.



8. Jason Allen, CB, 30, 6’1″, 200

Jason Allen is a long, strong corner with playmaking ability. With Shareece Wright still out and Richard Marshall as incompetent as ever, the Chargers need some help on the outside. He has 15 picks and 34 defended passes in his career and can also play safety.



7. Chris Gocong, OLB, 29, 6’2″, 263

Gocong spent the past year on IR with a ruptured Achilles. Dwight Freeney’s biggest impact this year has been his quickness off the line. Gocong has the same ability to break down O-lines with quickness. He had 3 sacks and 5.5 stuffs the year before he got hurt, and could replace Freeney as our 3rd down pass rusher.



Nov 13, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) is tackled by New York Jets free safety Eric Smith (33) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Patriots won 37-16. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

6. Eric Smith, SS, 30, 6’1″, 207

Eric Smith is a hard-hitting safety with good instincts and aggression in the box. He was never very skilled in coverage and is likely worse after an MCL injury last year. Smith is still the enforcer the Chargers need to strike fear into receivers crossing the middle.



5. Jacob Lacey, CB, 26, 5’10″, 183

Jacob Lacey was a 3 year starter for the Colts before playing last season in Detroit. He shows agility in nickel situations and also likes to play physical, despite his size. Perhaps most important, he knows when to stop backpedalling and start running with receivers. Cough. Derek Cox. Cough.



Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Ma

4. Ma’ake Kemoeatu, NT, 34, 6’5″, 345

Kemoeatu was able to lose over 70 pounds last year to take the Ravens’ starting NT job during their Super Bowl season. He started 13 games during the season and made an impact with 1 sack and 1 forced fumble. He would bring a Super Bowl pedigree.



3. Jo-Lonn Dunbar, OLB, 28, 6’0″, 266  UPDATE: Dunbar will sign a contract with the Rams today

Dunbar had a huge year for the Rams last season. Not only did he total 114 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 2 interceptions, Dunbar was the emotional leader of a successful and young Rams defense. Without him, the Rams defense has been just plain horrible. He was serving a 4 game suspension for the leagues substance abuse policy the past 4 games. Dunbar could be a steal if he remains productive after his suspension.



Dec 19, 2011; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton (98) during the second quarter at Candlestick Park. San Francisco defeated Pittsburgh 20-3. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

2. Casey Hampton, NT, 35, 6’1″, 325

Hampton is old. But, he still has the experience, insane strength, and tenacity only an ex-Steeler could exhibit. He would be an upgrade on the defensive line and give Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget a great mentor along the line. Cam Thomas has simply not been able to occupy blockers and the run defense and pass rush has suffered.



Aug. 17, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals safety (25) Kerry Rhodes returns an interception in the second half against the Oakland Raiders during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1. Kerry Rhodes, FS, 31, 6’3″, 212

Kerry Rhodes was one of the best safeties in the league last year. The true reason he is still a free agent is unknown, but there is no denying Rhodes would improve this defense. If DC John Pagano insists on keeping Weddle in the box, at least he would do so knowing he had an All-Pro caliber safety defending the deep ball. Plus, Rhodes could end up playing SS in the box and allow Weddle to fall back into center field. Rhodes played under Chargers OC Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona this past season.


Comment below about what free agent you think would have the biggest impact on the Chargers defense.



Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Dwight Freeney Free Agents San Diego Chargers

  • Tom Spalsbury

    Dunbar ( Rams)

  • Derek

    Nobody will touch Kerry because he has been labeled a gay nfl player. The media will anilate any cohesion he tries to make with any team. I hate to say it but I assume in gm’s minds along with coaches he’s just as bad as a Terrell Owens. Not every player is above judging. Hopefully he gets a better shot next yr

    • Michael Popowich

      Chargers already jumped that hurtle by siging Teo by not worrying about the media with him. San Diego would be a good place for him, and we need help on D. Make it so.

      • Derek

        I dono those are 2 totally different cases. Also take into account Kerry probably wants the money he is due not considering his off field life as he should it might be a case of not willing to settle. Freeny settled for what we gave him he believes he was blackballed so Kerry might not be willing to accommodate our budget considering the contract dashon Goodson signed

        • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

          Better then making 0 at this point of the year.

  • Rob Base

    Dunbar has a physical with the Rams today. Lacey and Gocong could be worth a look at for the Bolts.

  • Derek

    None of these guys besides Kerry is worth the contract cam has shown he is a rotational player at best I expect to keep 2 of the 3 nt and draft one along with a lt and Rb I say we pick up amad black!

  • Sergio Quintero

    Andre Carter the pass rusher formerly of the Pats makes a lot of sense, an experienced pass rusher with production is urgently required.

  • boltingindiego

    from this list the only player that makes sense would be olb mark anderson since we lost freeney.

  • Tazzster

    nah. I would rather develop the players that we have then pick up rejects. In addition, we have very little cap space.

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    I want to see how this defense reacts over the next two weeks first. Maybe things are clicking, and it just took a minute to gel. Probably not… but, I can’t just ignore the fact that our D only allowed 14 points against Dallas this weekend, and we were playing a lot of depth players. We could definitely use an OLB, and a SS, but let’s see how Tourek plays first. One player I TOTALLY agree with signing…. and always have been in favor of signing.. is Kerry Rhodes!

    He would make this team SO much better! It’s sad that in this day & age homophobic fear will still make men (or “so called” men) cut off their noses to spite their face…. simply to calm their childish fears of a gay man possibly seeing their dick. It’s a total regression of logic, and human evolution. Not saying they should run out, and buy a rainbow flag, but GROW UP!!! If The Chargers aren’t signing him because of that (which I hope is not the case), then they (or any other team) are stubborn to a fault. They simply can’t afford to have such a closed mind, when everyone is turning out our defense like a cheap whore… lol.

  • Stan Zab

    I only have one question….If all of these guys (who are currently on the street) would actually improve the Chargers defense, how in the world can you blame Pagano for anything? This article proves that our roster on the defensive side of the ball is complete garbage. So how exactly would any other defensive coordinator be an improvement? The Chargers are ranked 21st in PPG allowed, that combined with absolutely no running game and a hurry up offense, is pretty damn good considering the roster….

    Can someone explain this to me?

    • jonpviv

      You’re right Stan. There are 3 million arm chair qb’s in San Diego. with the talent level this team has, to be 2-2 and the possibility of 4-0, the entire coaching staff has done a fantastic job, with the exception (possibly) of the strength and conditioning coach as players are dropping like flies, but they are all over the league also. Butler and Te’o are getting healthy which will help. I was surprised after the Tennessee game how many people were saying “Fire Pagano” when a db that was on the streets the week before got beat. Gilchrist dropped a game ender, and Whisenhunt ran 8 straight play with the game on the line.

  • Bill Nichols

    We got this. We need to gel, guys need to get better playing together as a unit, and, Pags needs to pull his head out of his ass, and we will be fine. Maybe this is the chance for some of these UFA’s and Rooks to get some quality playing time, and turn into monsters. Sure hoping that is the case with Manti’. But man do we need to start sending the house if we can’t get any pressure. Our DB’s can’t cover much now, no pressure, and they are going to get screwed. Come on Pags, get crazy dude, it’s wide open baby, don’t be shy, blitz, blitz baby. Bolt Up!!