San Diego Chargers Veterans Who Have Been Put on Notice This Offseason
At least five veterans have been put on notice this offseason by the San Diego Chargers.
Following the conclusion of the draft, a large contingent of rookies were added to the roster to compete for a job in 2014. While competition may be good for the sake of the team, it can be disruptive to the mindset of veterans who aren't certain of their long-term status with the club.
Rookies bring bodies with less mileage and, more importantly, bargain prices. As such, veterans with little time left on their contracts can be at an immediate disadvantage. This is also true for experienced players who haven't performed up to the team's standards.
Here are five vets who should be concerned whether its this season or the next.
The moment San Diego made the decision to draft a guard in the third round of May's draft, the clock began ticking on Jeromey Clary's future with the team.
Chris Watt, who played mostly left guard at Notre Dame, practiced at right guard in his first practice with the Chargers, according to Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego. As Watt put it, "It was a little different, but I was able to pick up on it, I felt like, pretty good."
"Pretty good" won't earn Watt the starting job, but it's enough for concern on the part of Clary, who is entering the final year of a contract some people may consider a bit overpriced.
Despite three other veterans opting to restructure their contracts in the offseason to save the team money (Eddie Royal, Jarret Johnson and Dwight Freeney), Clary did not oblige. Watt is not only cheaper for San Diego, but he may also be the more skilled of the two given his natural feel for the position. Clary is a converted tackle with only a year at guard under his belt.
Surprisingly enough, young Vincent Brown will be playing out the final year of his contract in 2014. The 25-year-old receiver was put on notice this offseason when the team drafted Baylor's Tevin Reese and added several undrafted free agents at the wideout position.
Having missed all of 2012 with an ankle injury, Brown has only managed to play two seasons with the Chargers thus far. His rookie year was a promising one, but this past season left little to be admired.
With Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd lost for season, Brown let a prime opportunity to step up pass him by. Instead, it was Keenan Allen who flourished in the spotlight.
Brown's numbers in 2013 were better compared to his rookie season, but they were average considering the amount of playing time he was getting. He started 12 of the 16 games he played in and had 41 receptions for 472 yards and a touchdown.
Heading into this season, Brown will have Reese and others nipping at his heels.
Year after year, Larry English continues to avoid the chopping block, but his five-year tenure with the Bolts will soon be coming to a halt before or after this season. San Diego drafted Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu in the second round, bringing the team's count at outside linebacker to nine.
When Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram went down with injuries early last season, English was granted extended playing time but lasted only nine games before a pectoral injury cut his year short. Since entering the league in 2009, English has been healthy for just 52 games and his production has been a disappointment in light of being the 16th pick overall.
With Attaochu and others in house for this season, it doesn't look good for English in the last year of his rookie contract.
A torn ACL toward the end of his rookie season has caused Brandon Taylor to get lost in the fold with the Chargers.
Since his injury, Taylor hasn't played a snap and the competition at a once wide open position has gotten stronger the past two seasons. Marcus Gilchrist started all 16 games at strong safety and performed favorably after playing corner the previous two years. Undrafted rookie Jahleel Addae was also solid this past year.
Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reported in December that Taylor would undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. Assuming he can come back fully recovered, Taylor could have another go at strong safety, but Gilchrist and Addae are a step ahead having played more snaps.
Danny Woodhead was extremely effective in his first season with the Chargers. Filling the team's need for a flex back, Woodhead caught 76 balls for six touchdowns and rushed for another two.
Woodhead brought to San Diego what it was missing when Darren Sproles left for New Orleans—versatility at the running back position. This past January, Woodhead turned 29 and is entering the final year of his contract, which may or may not correlate with the team drafting another flexible running back in Arizona State's Marion Grice.
Woodhead will, no doubt, be a heavy contributor in 2014, but another contract will be hard to come by if Grice is the same player he was with the Sun Devils.