The Chargers Commitment To Players

I believe there is a subtle but growing feeling among Chargers players in regards to their commitment to their team. It seems that more and more, players are looking beyond the Chargers when it comes to the future of their NFL careers.

You remember the Vincent Jackson saga from last season. The Chargers wouldn’t pay him what he thought he was worth, so he sat out and eventually tried to negotiate a deal to play for another team. This deal probably wasn’t going to equate to a long-term deal for Jackson, but he knew the Chargers wouldn’t move from their position so he was ready to move on.

In the current offseason, we have already seen safety Eric Weddle make statements that, in effect, showed he would be ok not playing for the Chargers next year, claiming that he would “leave in a heartbeat” if he didn’t get the contract he wanted in San Diego. Is that simply a tough negotiating stance or a player who would be happy with a change of scenery?

Inside linebacker Stephen Cooper is under the assumption that he is not coming back to San Diego, which is probably a safe assumption. He said he is excited for the opportunity to test the market, but I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t come back if given the opportunity.

In a game where camaraderie and continuity do account for something, the Chargers seem to be losing off the field more than on the field in recent years, and their declining performance may be the surest sign of that suggestion. Yes, the Chargers have made long-term commitments to their Pro Bowl quarterback, tight end, and left tackle. Yet, they also have nine key players who received restricted free-agent tenders, seven of whom will likely be unrestricted free-agents once the Collective Bargaining Agreement mess has been sorted out. How many of those soon to be unrestricted free agents have received multi-year offers from the Chargers? None. In the Chargers view, they will do only the bare minimum of what they have to do at this point. It reminds me of a quote from a famous 20th century philosopher, Stan, The Manager Of Chotchkie’s, from Office Space:

“Look, we want you to express yourself, ok? If you think the bare minimum is enough, then ok. But some people choose to (do) more and we encourage that, ok?”

That’s how I feel about the Chargers stance on player contracts at this point, ok? One might feel a little better about Chargers roster moves if there was a concerted effort to improve the roster when a player moves on, but for the most part that has yet to happen.

In other Chargers news:

* Mayor Jerry Sanders and Chargers President Dean Spanos met recently to discuss stadium issues. With the California state government trying to deny cities redevelopment funding for things like sports stadiums, and no NFL funding available at this time due to CBA issues, I’m not sure what progress they can make. But at least they are talking, and hopefully someone can get creative about alternative financing options.

* Speaking of the CBA, I was very optimistic about the chances for an agreement this week after owners and players agreed to an extension to continue negotiations. Unfortunately, discussions seem to have hit a roadblock in the form of full financial disclosure from the owners, and the players union seems unlikely to budge on that demand. Since the owners could be forced to provide that information in court, I’m still hopeful that this issue can be resolved before the end of the week.

* Expect a lot of information and opinion in the coming weeks regarding the Chargers draft. I love talking draft day scenarios and guessing who the Chargers might select, but it is almost always a fruitless exercise for two reasons. First, it’s impossible to know every player who will come off the board before the Chargers pick at #18 in the first round. Second, it is almost impossible to predict what AJ Smith will do with a draft pick, because of his penchant for making unexpected moves in the draft.

March 9, 2011

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Mark said... Mar 9, 2011, 9:17:00 AM

I would hate to lose Weddle, Siler, and Cooper but the reality is that all of them could be gone.
I think losing Siler will be vastly underrated as he was big last year on key stops on 3rd downs. Cooper was also good and, Weddle is just beginning a great career.

Last year was our best and maybe last chance to make a deep run with the continuity of good players and coaches. Now Rivera is gone, the three forementioned defensive players will be gone and also even more players (Sproles) so now, who do we have left.....Norv Turner!! I wish he were gone more than anyone else.

Scott said... Mar 9, 2011, 7:31:00 PM

Cooper is the leader on Defense. Who is going to step up if we lose him? Larry English?!?!? Bob Sanders?!?!? Not likely.... Every good defense has a leader and AJ Smith is going to destroy the defense like he destroyed the offense last year, by subtracting their biggest mandatory double coverage guy VJ. Giving away Cooper.... He is simply tearing this team apart emotionally. Zero loyalty is what I got out of both Weddle and Cooper stating "I would be more that happy to play somewhere else."

I hope AJ is just simply playing hard ball with intentions of resigning both of these tremendous athlete. It is great to be cocky with your #1 defense ranked against the worst teams in NFL. But guess what, next year Chargers will be going against the best and guess what.... CHargers will need their best!!!! So sick of AJ over the last year.... Get this joker out of here.

Football said... Mar 10, 2011, 8:33:00 AM

The problem with SD losing good talent is AJ. Little by little he has whittled the team into a mess.AJ needs to go!

arnie said... Mar 13, 2011, 4:05:00 PM

there is nothing Subtle about it. look i understand AJ has job to do, however there's more to being a good GM than being able to spot talent. Seriously, think about this, if you are a player that is being considered for the NFL or just played well in college, you probably have some "talent" for the game. So, filling your roster with "talent" isn't a big task. it's finding the players, whose skill level is above the rest. that to takes a keen eye, but still very doable with the current process of evaluation. My point? AJ is a great talent scout, hands down, but being a GM requires a bit more "skill" level than he's demonstrated.

every since day one AJ has consistently been "hostile" with veteran and FA players. it's a pretty big list, but the most notable being LT, Drew Brees, and Rodney Harrison. the latter two have won championships, and LT is on a team that was in back 2 back AFC championship games (BTW with a coach AJ passed over for Norv) also the current treatment of 2 time, no 3 time Pro Bowler Marcus McNiel and VJ. Now Vj i can understand, but Big Mac? what has he done except play well enough to get to his first pro bowl, get injured, get healthy on his way to second pro bowl, only to rewarded with a one year tender, play 5 games in 2010 and still get the the pro bowl? need i also remind you, AJ treated Antonio Gates the same way in 05'. yes the 6 time pro bowler was offered a one year tender and wanted long term deal, but was treated like his performance on the field meant absolutely nothing.

So, in closing an atmosphere has been created that if they can do this to LT, BiG Mac, Harrison, Jr, Lights Out, even Drew, then they can and will do it to me. so why not explore the FA market and get compensated for my performance elsewhere.

for what it's worth players just don't want to play for AJ when they know how they'll be treated. they are not blind and neither are we. we see GM's all around the league have created a locker room you want to be a part of, and get paid! shoot i'd leave too.

peace out

elsoriano7 said... Mar 17, 2011, 11:43:00 AM

AJ needs to keep his ego and behavior in check... He has been the reasons why we can't make it over the hump because he has made decisions that has became self-inflicting wounds for the chargers for several years now... I understand that players can get out of hand and have off the field issues or demand a contact not worthy of negotiating but he needs to close the deal in the offseason and have a complete team before the season starts PERIOD. There are no excuses for having an incomplete team and then the season starts and AJ just says F'ed it we can continue without you and succeed. No it doesn't work like that. It seems AJ likes to roll the dice on the depth of his players then to depend on his REAL star players. That right there is a EGO tripping GM because he thinks he picked enough good players on the team to contribute the same way his pro-bowlers contribute. NOPE! Look we didn't make the playoffs this year because we didn't make a deal with MM and VJ at the beginning of the year and didn't re-sign OSGOOD because he wanted a couple of passes thrown to him, now our ST sucked and was blamed for the whole season. Just like the that one year when we couldn't close a deal with GATES and we missed the playoffs by one game and if we had gates in there for the 1st game I think he could've scored a TD (I think we lost by by a TD or FG I forgot but I know for sure it was only by 1 possession) we would've won and had a great chance to go to the post-season.

I really don't blame the players (especially ST and the ST coach), Norv (even though I hate his guts), or the front office (even though they can't even get it together), I blame AJ for his EGO and his "I'm not held accountable attitude!". I have fell off this Charger bandwagon (and yes you can hate on me for that, I don't care, I have my reasons) but back in the day when the chargers were 4-12 or 2-14 or 1-15 seasons with Mike Riley as HC and Doug Fultie as QB I loved my chargers to death! Now we have become from having 11 PRO-BOWLERS on the team (I think there was more than 11 in 2006) to a bunch of cheap, average, no-namers other than the obvious ones of course on the team because of what?! they are "cheaper", "younger", "good but average" (NOT GREAT!), "rejects on other teams to start for us" type of team. I have really had enough of AJ and his so-called genius decisions and would love for him to be FIRED even before NORV... I don't care one or the other... Just bring a sense of urgency to this team that no mistake will be taken lightly anymore or it's back to being a 4-12 team again... (If that happens I'll jump right back into the Chargers bandwagon again... LOL!!!). MAKE DECISIONS TO WIN THE HEISMAN!!! NOT TO JUST MAKE TO THE PLAYOFFS YEAR AFTER YEAR!!! and that is what AJ is doing!!! I've seen we have signed B.Sanders (1st step to get there I approve) but we'll see how that pans out...

your official Charger bandwagon jumper!!! GOOD LUCK in the next 5 years!!!

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