December 2, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown (24) tackles Oakland Raiders fullback Jeremy Stewart (32) during the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
BoltFam, yesterday we´ve discussed possible post-June 1 moves by our San Diego Chargers. Today is June 1st and this means we now have $4.5 million more in cap space available, as Jared Gaither´s release came with a June 1 designation. Part of that available money will be used to sign D.J. Fluker, who will be a cap hit of about $2,070,000 in his first year for the Chargers.
We´ve also talked about the comments by ESPN´s Bill Williamson who said that he thinks D.J. Fluker will be “a Pro Bowler at right guard” but “will struggle some at right tackle”. I don´t want to go trough that story again, because I hate that thought of Fluker not being good enough to play at right tackle. I´ve also mentioned that Eric Winston and Winston Justice are still available in free agency, if the worst case becomes reality (and Fluker plays at right guard).
But we´re going to stay positive here and expect that the beast from the Southern-East will do just fine on the right end of the O-Line. But still there are roster spots that could use some depth.
If Jeromey Clary gets cut in order to free up some cap space (his $3.4 million impact in dead money could be spread over the next years), I guess we would have to pick up another guy for the right guard position. We already know that Brandon Moore currently is the best guard available in free agency. Let´s take a closer look at the former New York Jet.
The 33-year old veteran´s name is often used with the word “Butt fumble” in one sentence. This refers to a play in the Patriots vs. Jets game in week 12 last season, where Jets´ quarterback Mark Sanchez ran directly into his teammate´s rear end to fumble the ball and give up a touchdown. But after all, the blame is on Sanchez, because Moore had his man blocked on that play. Whatever, the 2011 Pro-Bowler is coming off a terrific season. His run blocking skills would be attractive to any team looking to move the ball on the ground. Plus, he’s also been pretty reliable in pass protection. Moore would definitely make sense for the San Diego Chargers (in my opinion). He would be a solid option for maybe the next two years and wouldn´t come in too expensive at this stage of free agency I guess.
We also figured out that Eddie Royal (more or less) is expendable, now that the Chargers selected the slot receiver and kick returner threat Keenan Allen in the third round of the draft. If he gets shown the door, the depth chart of the kick and punt returner spot, however, could use some upgrade.
In March, Richard Goodman signed his one-year tender offer and thus will remain with the team in 2013. But he missed nine games in 2012 due to a season-ending harmstring injury and Keenan Allen is recovering from a knee injury too. So having another solid kick returner on the team could be advantageous in many ways. In a previous piece it has already been mentioned that Micheal Spurlock is still available and could be a very solid option here.
December 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Micheal Spurlock (87) runs with the ball on a punt return against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The San Diego Chargers won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Last offseason, the Chargers signed Micheal Spurlock (that´s right, “Micheal,” not “Michael”), but released him on October 3, 2012 in order to make room for cornerback Chris Carr. Due to a lot of injuries in the wide receiver (and kick returner) corps, the Bolts claimed Micheal Spurlock off waivers again on November 28, 2012. He immediately was a huge factor in the return game, leading the team in yards per punt return while second in yards per kick return, along with having a punt and kick return touchdown. Spurlock played seven games last year and was a major reason why the Lightning Bolts went from 22nd in yards per punt return in 2011 to 15th in 2012. But he also had his part on the offense; e.g. he recorded seven catches for 64 yards as slot receiver in the victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 14.
I really loved what Micheal Spurlock brought to the table last year and I also was a little bit disappointed that Goodman was brought back instead of the 30-year old return specialist. Spurlock was a $540,000 cap hit last year – I don´t think he´d come in at a significant higher price tag.
The last roster spot I want to address here is the cornerback position.
It´s not a secret anymore that I´m worried about the current CB depth situation. We already talked about the possibility that interesting players could become available in free agency in the next days or weeks. But what if no decent cornerback is among those free agents? Is any corner available right now? The answer is: Yes! The former Cleveland Brown Sheldon Brown is still unsigned.
Just like Quentin Jammer, Brown will be entering his 12th season in the National Football League. But unlike the long-time Charger, he is coming off a great year, racking up 58 tackles, 3 interceptions (1 for a touchdown), 12 passes defended, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 forced fumble.
There is another thing that should get you excited about the 34-year old veteran: Brown has played in 175 straight games since being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002, including the past 47 with the Browns. Unfortunately his amazing streak of never missing an NFL game came to an end last year in week 16 when they played our division rival, the Denver Broncos. He suffered a concussion on a blindside hit by wide receiver Brandon Stokely and has not been cleared by doctors; this means, he missed the game in week 17 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Our injury-prone crew in the secondary probably could use some healthy and reliable veteran power. I guess if he would come in at a price tag of about $2 million it would be a solid deal. I assume he seeks for revenge and how could he do it better than in the AFC West where he can mess up the Broncos´ passing game twice a year.
So, BoltFam, if no other options at the above-mentioned positions become available in the next few days, would you pull the trigger on one of these veterans in free agency? Let us know what you think about it!
Thank you for reading!