The Chargers Top-Five Post-Lockout Priorities

According to reports, the NFL lockout should actually be near an end. Fans everywhere can let out a huge sigh of relief, schedule their fantasy football drafts, and start thinking about the usual offseason stuff we have had to put off for far too long. You know, stuff like negotiations with draft picks, signing free agent players, and mapping out a teams' depth chart. So looking ahead to end of NFL-NFLPA drama, here are the Chargers top-five post-lockout priorities.

1. Start Camp At Full Throttle

The Chargers have to open training camp as soon as it is permissible in the new agreement. There are bound to players missing (including draft picks and free agents), but so what? Get as many players into camp as soon as possible and start learning the new defensive and special teams systems and, most importantly, start kicking some butt so these guys are ready for the Vikings on September.

2. Sign Eric Weddle

The Chargers have a number of free agents to sign when the lockout ends, and none are more difficult to replace than Eric Weddle. Weddle has been rumored to be a hot commodity when free agency starts, as there are few quality safeties available. The Chargers have holes at linebacker, depth concerns on the offensive line, but Weddle has to be the team’s priority. That may even mean his eventual franchise tagging if the situation with Vincent Jackson takes a different turn, but more on that in a minute.

3. Sign Some Linebackers

After Weddle, the linebacker position has to be solidified. Kevin Burnett, Stephen Cooper, and Brandon Siler are all free agents, and unfortunately, Shaun Phillips can’t hold down the middle of the defensive unit on his own. The Chargers have to sign Burnett, and ideally, they have to sign a solid starter to work next to him. If not the pricey Paul Posluszny, then perhaps Takeo Spikes or Kirk Morrison? Whoever it is, it's too soon to count on Donald Butler and Jonas Mouton.

4. Pay Vincent Jackson

Sure, the Chargers franchise tagged the Pro Bowl wide receiver, but VJ is also part of the Tom Brady class action lawsuit, which has the potential to release him from any franchise tag per a settlement. If that were the case, how comfortable would you feel without one of the best receivers in the game, especially if Antonio Gates misses some time due to injury? Sign VJ.

5. Sign Their Draft Picks

Purposefully last, try to sign your draft picks and get them into camp as soon as possible. Conventional wisdom would place great importance on getting your least-experienced players on the practice field before you do anything else. In reality, the Chargers did not draft a lot of starters. And don’t forget that these draft picks are already tied to the Chargers, while free agents are not. League wide, expect that draft picks will take a back seat to free agent players when the lockout ends.

Are our priorities right? What did we miss? Sounds off below and give us your list of priorities for the Chargers, post-lockout.

July 18, 2011

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