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Chargers improve roster

Posted Mar 16, 2012

SAN DIEGO – The Chargers won’t try to outbid five teams and overpay for a buzz-inducing free agent, but they believe they’ve bolstered their roster by signing some players of need Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

In lockstep with what the organization has discussed all offseason, San Diego aggressively signed seven players after unrestricted free agents became fair game league-wide at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The Chargers took steps to shore up the left side of the offensive line, the team’s top offensive priority behind securing a franchise quarterback, which they have in Philip Rivers.

“We signed two starters when we got Nick (Hardwick) back and Jared Gaither. The combination of those two guys gives us a real solid group up front.

“I was really excited with the way (left guard) Tyronne Green played in the last part of the season. That’s when our line kind of re-established itself. And having that continuity is really great when you look at (right guard Louis) Vasquez and (right tackle Jeromey) Clary on the other side, and it gives us some opportunities to add a couple more guys that will compliment them. I expect us to be an outstanding offensive line.”

In addition, San Diego signed what Head Coach Norv Turner feels are two great fits at receiver and added two more former Baltimore players known for leadership, physicality and intensity, one at outside linebacker and one at fullback.

Across the league, there still are dozens and dozens of unsigned free agents. A lot will play out in the coming days, and expect San Diego to continue to be active.

“Obviously we’re not done yet,” Turner said.

Take a look at the players the Chargers already have signed.

Robert Meachem: Projected as a starting receiver, the Chargers see him as a speedy downfield threat and expect him to exceed his 40 to 45-catch range the last three seasons in New Orleans.

Jarret Johnson: The versatile outside linebacker is as durable as they come. He can seal the edge against the run, rush the passer or drop into coverage. His presence should help keep pass-rush specialists like Antwan Barnes fresh.

Le’Ron McClain: The 6-foot, 260-pound lead blocker can also catch (18 receptions a year) and run (more than 900 yards in ’08), but his main objective is to clear space for Ryan Mathews to operate.

Eddie Royal: Another speed receiver, Royal can play in the slot and is one of the NFL’s most underrated punt returners.

Nick Hardwick: A respected leader in the locker room and a quality center on the field, his presence will help stabilize an offensive line going through changes on the left side.

Jared Gaither: His 6-foot-9, 340-pound frame long has been coveted around the league, but the late-season pickup found a home as a player in San Diego. Now he has a chance to be an elite left tackle.

Kory Sperry: The tight end has gotten better in recent years and must continue to improve to grab a role. He offers the Chargers their only experienced and developing player behind Antonio Gates.
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