Chargers Free Agency

Mike Pouncey, Chargers agree on two-year deal

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Mike Pouncey
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Mike Pouncey
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The Los Angeles Chargers continue to address their offensive line.

The Dolphins released center Mike Pouncey four days ago. His first visit was with the Chargers, and general manager Tom Telesco made sure it would be his last.

The Chargers and Pouncey have officially agreed to a two-year deal. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal is worth $15 million with $10 million in guarantees. His annual salary of $7.5 million will make Pouncey the 12th-highest paid center in the league, per OverTheCap.com.

The Chargers didn’t have to break the bank to land the three-time Pro Bowler. Pouncey is only 28 years old, and he will replace 2016 undrafted free agent Spencer Pulley, who started all 16 games at center in 2017. Pulley graded out as one of the worst centers a year ago, per Pro Football Focus, but he played the most snaps on offense. Keeping the 24-year-old, who now has starting experience, as depth is fine.

As for Pouncey, his 2017 season wasn’t much better, as he was PFF’s 27th-ranked center. However, despite playing in all 16 games for the first time since 2012, he was returning from a serious hip injury that cost him 11 games in 2016. He did shine as a pass blocker, as noted by PFF. He was also sandwiched between LG Ted Larsen and RG Jermon Bushrod, two of the worst guards in the league. Pouncey will now get to play next to two promising youngsters in Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp.

Also, a change of scenery can make everything better. Left tackle Russell Okung was coming off a bad year in Denver before the Chargers signed him to a four-year deal last offseason. Okung ended up being the Chargers’ best lineman and made the Pro Bowl in 2017.

And speaking of Feeney, there was a rumor that he’d be moving to center when the season started. With the signing of Pouncey, Feeney will almost certainly stay at left guard; he started the final nine games at that position when Matt Slauson went down with injury. As of now, the starting lineup will consist of Okung at left tackle, Feeney at left guard, Pouncey at center, Lamp at right guard and Joseph Barksdale at right tackle. Pulley, recently re-signed tackle/guard Michael Schofield, 2017 sixth-round tackle Sam Tevi and 2016 seventh-round guard Donavon Clark round out the group. Replacing Barksdale, who appears to be the weakest link on the line, could happen via the draft.

The Chargers have been looking for a solid replacement for longtime center Nick Hardwick for what seems like forever now. Hardwick happens to love the addition of Pouncey.

Strong addition to an offensive line trending in the right direction. He brings a necessary tenacity to the group. His foot quickness and athleticism at the point will greatly benefit Melvin Gordon. https://t.co/130POaBMQG

— Nick Hardwick (@hardwina) March 19, 2018

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