The San Diego Chargers, as promised, didn’t sign any “big name” players. But the old saying of “go big or go home” doesn’t always work when taking a risk on top name players. Instead, the Chargers used their money on role players and depth. Let’s take a look at the Chargers so far in free agency and give out some grades.
Re-sign LS Mike Windt - This isn’t a huge move but it saves the Chargers from looking for another long snapper. Windt and punter Mike Scifres have a solid connection so it makes sense to re-sign him. I mean, why not? Grade: B
Re-sgin K Nick Novak - If the Bolts didn’t re-sign Novak, they would’ve been left with Nate Kaeding. Kaeding is obviously fading and Novak made 18-20 field goals and converted on all of his 33 PAT’s. Grade: A
Re-sign WR/KR Richard Goodman - Goodman is a special teamer. He can play coverage as well as return kicks or punts. He ranks 4th over the past two seasons with 27.6 yards per kick return. There could be other guys out there better equipped but it saves the Chargers from looking. Grade: A-
Claimed RB Fozzy Whittaker - If healthy, Whittaker could make an impact with his speed. The only thing is, he’s never seen an NFL field. At Texas, he was known for his legs but a knee injury can definitely put that speed in jeopardy. Either way, Whittaker won’t be a huge impact right away. Grade: C-
Signed TE John Phillips - This is a solid signing. After letting Randy McMichael walk, the Chargers brought in a guy who’s just a younger version of McMichael. Phillips isn’t a flashy guy who’s going to go out and catch 80 passes and 10 touchdowns a season. He’s strictly a blocking tight end. With a new zone blocking scheme set to be implemented, Phillips is a solid fit. Grade: B+
Signed OT King Dunlap - Everyone hated this move when it happened, except for Eagles fans, but it’s not as bad as it appears. Joe D’Allesandris has a history with Dunlap from his college days and D’Allesandris has had success as an offensive line coach. If he sees something in the mammoth tackle, we should all trust that. Regardless, Dunlap has a sour past. Grade: C
Signed OG Chad Rinehart - This signing was an under-the-radar type of signing. Rinehart has a history with D’Allesandris and had very good success in Buffalo. If he stays healthy, his career can flourish in a place like San Diego. Grade: A-
Signed CB Derek Cox - This was by far the best signing of the week for the Chargers. Cox is a very talented corner back. He’s physical and has great hands. He fits in great with San Diego’s defense and corner was a high need. Grade: A+
Signed RB Danny Woodhead - This is another solid signing. Woodhead is a great 3rd down back who can catch and run. He’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry for his career and caught over 40 passes last season as a back-up. Ryan Mathews touched the ball just five times last year on third down. Grade: A
Re-signed Ronnie Brown - Brown will stay in San Diego to pass block. He provides a veteran perspective and can come in a fill in on third downs when he needs to. Besides that, this move is just one of those moves you can live with. Grade: B
Overall Grade: B+
While the Chargers were relatively quiet, they picked up the pieces that they needed to. For everything else, they’ll look to the draft in April.