Imminent Roster Turnover At Wide Receiver

There has been a bit of a lull in free agent activity following the Chargers re-signings and key veteran acquisitions last week. Still there are plenty of chips left to fall in the market of players for hire with Bolts’ wide receiver Malcom Floyd being one of those key pieces.

Many teams have been rumored to be in the mix for Floyd’s services including the Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, and Carolina Panthers along with the Bolts. This gaggle of teams vying for the Chargers’ number two wideout has driven his market price even higher and likely beyond what the Bolts are willing to pay for a second option at receiver. It really comes down to the question of how much is too much for a number two receiver in today’s pass-first NFL?

With a quarterback like Philip Rivers who loves to spread the ball around, that question might just answer itself. Like the majority of fans, Floyd is one of the players that I would love to see remain with the team, but only if the price is right. General Manager A.J. Smith has made a living by drawing a line in the sand during negotiations and standing pat with those figures regardless of what goes on around him. In all likelihood, that behavior in this case will ultimately lead to Floyd calling a new city home during the 2011 campaign and give the Bolts a thin depth chart at receiver.

Clearly GM Smith was thinking ahead on this topic as he signed former Atlanta Falcons and St. Louis Rams’ receiver Laurent Robinson to a one-year deal on Thursday. Robinson is of average build at 6’2” 197lbs. and has competitive speed at the wideout spot giving Rivers yet another capable target to look for on passing downs. Adding him to a corps with Vincent Jackson, Patrick Crayton, and Seyi Ajirotutu will up the competition ante a bit during training camp for sure.

Perhaps the most interesting news at the wide receiver spot has been developing over the last 48 hours as well with the New York Jets expected to cut ties with 29 year old receiver Jerricho Cotchery in a salary cap move. Cotchery is a proven player at the NFL level with reliable hands who hauled in 41 receptions a year ago with the Jets.

What is unquestionably the most intriguing aspect of potentially adding Cotchery to the mix in San Diego is the relationship that he already shares with the man under center for the Chargers. Rivers and Cotchery were often connecting for scores during their days at North Carolina State and they even go all the way back to high school where they shared a bit of a rivalry on the hardwood in Alabama.

These two are still great friends to this day and with the Chargers likely needing to add one more body to their depth chart before the season begins, Cotchery just makes too much sense not to happen. Via a story on ESPN, both athletes gave their thoughts on a potential reunion as Rivers said: “He was my guy. It got to the point where, we were within the scheme, but it was just me-to-you, backyard stuff.” Cotchery continued the talk by saying: “He's a cool dude. We had a great chemistry. When you're on the same page, it's hard to stop. Philip and I developed that. There were times when we weren't even talking, just looking at the coverage or looking at the cornerback, he'd give a look and I'd know where to run.”

Although those days are nearly a decade in the rearview mirror now, it’s clear that both guys still have fond memories of their time spent with the Wolfpack. Cotchery isn’t a huge name, but a signing like this would show that the Chargers care more about wins than making big splashy moves in free agency. Plus adding Cotchery makes so much more sense than pursuing a trade for the disgruntled Steve Smith of the Panthers who has been longing for a way out of Carolina the entire offseason.

So the Bolts may very well be without Floyd in the near future, but look for his vacancy to be short lived with Cotchery on the open market. In just a brief snapshot comparison, Floyd had 37 receptions for 717 yards and six touchdowns during the 2010 season while Cotchery hauled in 41 balls for 433 yards and two scores. The two are very different receivers, but the Bolts have their big play guy in V Jack already and the numbers really aren’t far off. Reuniting Cotchery and Rivers with the Bolts could be the ideal remedy to avoiding any potential drop off from the loss of Floyd this season.

Now it’s your turn. Do you think the Bolts should have offered more money to Malcom Floyd or was their offer more than fair considering his production level? How do you see Laurent Robinson fitting in to the Chargers’ rotation at receiver? Is bringing Jerricho Cotchery to San Diego one of those moves that just makes too much sense not to happen or will the Bolts fail to sign the former NC State product? How big of a factor will it be that Philip Rivers is likely to lobby for the team to sign Cotchery as soon as possible? Please leave your thoughts on the wide receiver spot in the comments section below!

August 5, 2011

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