Chargers release free-agent bust Orlando Franklin
By Matt Pagels
The Los Angeles Chargers are cutting ties with their third starting offensive lineman from last season.
The Chargers released left tackle King Dunlap and right guard D.J. Fluker in the beginning of the offseason. Now, left guard Orlando Franklin is getting the boot, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to NFL.com, the Chargers saved $2.8 million in cap space but lost $4.8 million in dead money.
Franklin signed a five-year, $36.5 million deal ($16.5 million guaranteed) with San Diego in the 2015 offseason. In Franklin’s final year in Denver, Pro Football Focus noted that he was one of three guards who allowed one or fewer sacks with 600-plus pass blocks.
Fast forward two seasons later, and Franklin became a liability in pass blocking.
For what it's worth, Orlando Franklin allowed more QB hurries & QB hits than all but 4 guards last year, per @PFF.
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) May 15, 2017
Franklin was one of the top guards on the market in 2015. After playing at a high level and missing just one game in his four years with the Broncos, the 29-year-old had underwhelmed in his two years with the Chargers. He missed six games in 2015, and even though he started every game last season, he was beat up and played poorly, hence a 47.5 overall grade, the worst grade among Chargers’ linemen.
Franklin’s release became inevitable when the team drafted guards Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney in 2017. The Chargers also have the option to move Matt Slauson to guard should 2016 third-rounder Max Tuerk win the starting center job. Also, center/guard Spencer Pulley, a 2016 undrafted free agent, and guard Donavon Clark, a 2016 seventh-round pick, are both promising players who provide solid depth.
Let’s hope this new offensive line can keep QB Philip Rivers upright and create holes for RB Melvin Gordon. If they do, the Chargers could boast one of the best offenses in the league.