The free-agent market is just hours away from officially open, and deals are already being made. The San Diego Chargers have remained quiet to this point.
Deals have reportedly already been agreed upon between the Oakland Raiders and Kelechi Osemele, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Malik Jackson and the Miami Dolphins and Mario Williams. Three high-profile names are already off the market, in other words.
General manager Tom Telesco may have his sights set on re-signing players such as Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green, but he must find a way to lure free agents to San Diego. According to Overthecap.com, the Chargers have a little more than $32 million in cap space. Only 12 teams in the league have more spending money, with the Jaguars and Raiders being at or near the top of the list.
Telesco wasn’t wildly successful with his 2015 free-agent class, leaving the margin for error this year much smaller. Travis Benjamin, Tashaun Gipson and Alex Mack are three players that must be on his list. He really needs to find a way to sign at least two of them. The sooner the better.
If its a copycat league, Tom Telesco should copy John Elway. John Elway is aggressive in free agency.
— Judson Richards (@Judson1360) March 8, 2016
The team did make one move on Tuesday, re-signing offensive lineman Joe Barksdale, as reported by Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. This was a good move, but where are the deals for Gates and Green? The fact that they haven’t agreed to terms shows that each tight end wants to at least test the waters of free agency.
The #Chargers gave Joe Barksdale a 4-year deal worth $22.2M deal with $10.5M guaranteed, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2016
Gates will likely be back for season No. 14 with the team, but Green may be another story. If another team throws out a big offer, Telesco may have to let the young player go in order to have space to bring in other players.
Either way, the Chargers need to be one of the busiest teams in the next few days. Not only do they have 14 of their own players set to hit the open market, but the front office needs to find a way to quickly turn around a team that went 4-12 last season.
Jacksonville, Oakland and even Miami have already shown they are willing to throw some money around. It’s time for Telesco to put the wheels in motion, before he and his team are left in the dust. Fans in San Diego aren’t going to tolerate that.