Grading the Chargers’ signing of Mike Pouncey
By Travis Wakeman
Mike Pouncey visited the Los Angeles Chargers’ facility shortly after being released by the Miami Dolphins and didn’t leave without a contract. On name value alone, this appears to be a huge upgrade for the team. But let’s take a closer look and see how he fits.
Philip Rivers has managed to have a successful NFL career despite playing behind one of the shoddiest offensive lines more than once. The Chargers have struggled to develop continuity within the offensive line and Rivers has had a hard time staying upright.
That changed last season as the team got much better in that department, allowing a league-low 18 sacks. Still, general manager Tom Telesco couldn’t pass up the chance to sign a new center.
Pouncey will turn 29 years old in July and will be entering his eighth year in the league. The former Florida Gator was selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Dolphins and in that time he’s been selected to the Pro Bowl three times.
Miami didn’t cut him because they notice him regressing, they cut him to save money.
Pouncey is athletically gifted, but he also plays with a mean streak, something every team should want out of its center. He also brings experience at the position. Though Matt Slauson and Spencer Pulley have done their best the past two seasons at center, it wasn’t either players’ natural position. That won’t be the case with Pouncey.
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He also instantly upgrades the team’s rushing attack. Perhaps the most excited player on the Chargers’ roster after this signing is Melvin Gordon, particularly after the team signed tight end Virgil Green, who specializes at blocking.
But what I like the most about this signing is the fact that Pouncey will man the middle of the offensive line with two young guys in Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney on either side of him. Both of those players should play with much more confidence than they would have this year now that a tough, experienced veteran is there to back them up.
"I can't wait to bring my toughness, my leadership, to this offensive line."– Mike Pouncey pic.twitter.com/AUnwCcnZ93
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) March 20, 2018
It’s easy to get overly excited about free-agent moves. Most fanbases feel every move their team makes is the right one but looking at it objectively, there’s almost nothing to not like about this signing, including the fact that the Chargers were able to get him on a 2-year, $15 million deal with $10 million guaranteed. Just three years ago, Pouncey signed a 5-year extension with Miami for $52.5 million with $22 million guaranteed.
I’d call that a bargain.
By bringing in Pouncey, the Chargers’ offensive line becomes more athletic, more experienced and much more nasty. That’s a good combination if you’re Rivers.