December 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Detailed view of a decal to honor victims of shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on the helmet of San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) during warmups prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The bug a boo is why are Mike Willie, Chris Gronkowski and Dan DePalma on IR?
This may seem odd, however it is an old common practice, to protect players the Chargers have made an investment in. “lemme esplain Lucy…”
Mike Willie is a good wide receiver and the Chargers want him on the roster. This is what you can read into this move. However there is a log jam at the top with wide receivers that cannot stay healthy and cannot be cut. So the option is to cut experienced wide receiver in favor of two 1 year practice squad players and a rookie… Or the IR list. Because of this scenario in all likelihood they would lose Willie on waivers.
Enter IR. By putting Willie there, he stays on the roster for a year. He get’s paid but it’s at the league base for $405.000. So it’s a small price to pay to protect a good player, for the future. He also spends some time learning the Whiz system. But it still doesn’t make sense? Remember T&M are thinking for the future, not just right now and next year’s three wide receiver spots are going to open up. Meaning Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal and Danario Alexander will probably not be back. And just like that, you opened up a roster spot for Willie, DePalma to step up. They will have the advantage because they know the offense.
As for Gronkowski, I mentioned in the camp breakdowns that we should not sleep on this kid. He looked good. The problem? The Chargers had an experienced fullback under contract until 2014. Why rock the boat? Let the kid learn the offense, learn from the vet and open the door for him to step up in 2014.
I know, I know, we would like to see them play his year. The reality is, if they hit the waiver wire, they would play this year for another team. They need the best experienced players to lead the charge this year. The reason is the Chargers do not have the cap room to release some vets. So play em, and say goodbye when it’s convenient for you… on your terms.