Why haven’t the Chargers signed Stefen Wisniewski?
By Travis Wakeman
The San Diego Chargers have had what seems like a successful free-agent signing period. The team has added Travis Benjamin, Brandon Mebane, Dwight Lowery and Casey Hayward while re-signing Antonio Gates, Joe Barksdale, Kellen Clemens, Damion Square and Chris Hairston.
But one position has not been addressed—center.
Stefen Wisniewski is available as a free agent, but the Chargers have yet to bring him in. Perhaps they have no intention of doing so. After Alex Mack signed with the Atlanta Falcons, Tom Telesco should have scheduled a work out with Wisniewski, at the very least. It seems evident that Telesco is willing to go with many of the same offensive linemen he had last season, hence the contracts given to Barksdale and Hairston and the restructuring of King Dunlap’s contract.
That’s fine, but the center position must be addressed. Chris Watt was highly ineffective last season, and an upgrade must be found. Surely, Telesco doesn’t intend to play him at center this coming season, which means that if he doesn’t sign Wisniewski, he’ll be looking to draft a new center.
But Wisniewski is worth a long look. A second-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 2011 NFL draft, he spent last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played well for the Jaguars, outside of a couple bad snaps. In addition, he has 77 career starts and for a guy who will be only 27 years old when the season starts, he brings both experience and youth.
Are there better options in the draft? Possibly. Ryan Kelly out of Alabama or Nick Martin from Notre Dame would both be solid draft picks. But both players would require a high draft pick, likely in the first three rounds.
The Chargers played against Wisniewski for four seasons when he played in Oakland. Is there something about him they’re aware of and don’t like? If not, he should be brought in.
It’s one thing to have good players at the tackle and guard spots, but the center balances the entire offensive line. The Jaguars have decided not to bring Wisniewski back, at least to this point. Instead, they will go with Luke Bowanko, a player Wisniewski beat out last season.
Wisniewski would be a major upgrade over Watt, one who could help ignite the running game in San Diego. Unless there is a player in the draft that Telesco is in love with drafting, this is a signing he must make.
What’s your opinion? Would you like to see Wisniewski signed, or would you prefer the team takes its chances by drafting a rookie center?