Free agency is right around the corner so there's no better time to get acclimated to the ins-and-outs than now. You can also stay up to date on all of the Chargers free agency moves with the Free Agency Tracker here. Here's what you need to know.
March 15-17: Legal Tampering Period
- The legal tampering period in which teams can contact and negotiate with the agents of players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.
March 17: New League Year Begins (1:00 PM PT)
- The new league year begins, kicking off the official start of free agency. Agreed-upon trades and signings can be announced.
Unrestricted Free Agents (15)
|Melvin Ingram III
Restricted Free Agents (7)
Exclusive Rights Free Agents (3)
|Tyree St. Louis
WHAT TOM TELESCO HAS SAID
On if he believes that there will be more veteran players released in the coming weeks due to salary cap constraints for the upcoming season:
"That would be my guess. More than in prior seasons, just because no one had anticipated the cap going down to where it is now. That would be my anticipation. I guess we'll see for sure in the next couple of weeks, but that would be my thought."
On if the Chargers' salary cap position is in a place where he would not have to release any veteran players due to potential salary cap constraints for the upcoming season:
"You try to keep as many options open as possible. We're in a better situation than most, which is good to know. It gives us some flexibility. But it's not like we have so much cap space that we can be overly aggressive in free agency.
I'm not going to go through Salary Cap 101 with you guys. Your cap number may look good, but once you take out restricted free agent tenders, exclusive rights minimum qualifying offers, your draft picks, your practice squad next year — which could be 12 players, could be 14, could be 16 — your in-season budget, then even our own guys that we would like to re-sign, that doesn't leave a whole lot of wiggle room.
However, we're in a better position than most right now. So, I'm not going to complain about that. It's a fluid situation, basically on a day-to-day basis right now. A lot of that has to do with the situation with the cap. Nobody does contracts moving into the future thinking that the cap would drop, and drop that significantly, but it happens. We'll deal with it like everybody else. It's a daily, fluid situation with our football team, and everybody's probably, right now."
On if there is value in acquiring players that have experience of playing in defensive schemes similar to Staley's:
"There is. I've been through other head coaching changes before, and general manager changes. Sometimes they're comfortable with the players that you've had, because you know exactly what they can do for you. Both on the field and off of the field, you know what you're getting.
But, I will say that talking just scheme-wise, Brandon has base philosophies, but it's not like we're going to be running the exact same things that he ran with the Rams because the Rams have different players than we do. But, I think that whenever there are new coaches that come in, there are some players that you may have familiarity with that may fit that you feel good about, because you know them very well, but you have to be careful with that, too.
That's normal in this league — not just for scheme, but just knowing the type of person you're getting. Whenever you bring somebody in from the outside who has been in the league for four or five years, we knew these players coming out of college, but once they go to a different team, you kind of lose that touch of where they are now, four or five years later.
When you're signing a free agent or when you're making a trade, or maybe signing a player off of the street that has been out of college for a while, you really want to make sure that they fit what you do both on the field and off of the field that fits your culture. With our staff right now — not just Brandon, but both offensively and defensively — we have a lot of guys from a lot of different backgrounds and a lot of different places. I think that's going to help us, at least in Year 1, as we're looking at players from the outside, that we'll have some good familiarity about those guys."
On how he decides which areas to address in free agency and the draft:
"You kind of line up your list of needs that you're trying to work on. I don't prioritize it. They all need to be addressed one way or another. Like you said, there are different ways to do it.
Some of it is just based on the calendar. We have players in-house that we're trying to develop.
Free agency is next on the calendar, then you have the draft, then you have college free agency after the draft. You have trades anywhere in the middle there. A lot of it is just based on the calendar, as far as how you try to approach these.
You can do a little bit of, 'Let's look at the draft board, let's see where we are as far as strengths of strengths of different positions, then compare that to different strengths of free agency,' and that could dictate where you go. That's a lot of how it goes.
Now, the draft board at this point. It's up. It's kind of set. Now, it will be adjusted between now and April. But, we have a pretty good feel for where the positions that are strong and that aren't as strong are.
In free agency, it's very easy to look at where the positions of strength are. Now, what we don't know is what the market numbers will be for different players. Certainly, this year it's even more difficult to figure out where those numbers are because certainly with any free agent that you sign, it's not just a talent you're signing, but how much are they going to cost and how do they fit into your salary cap? There is a lot that goes into that.
You try to balance it all together and just know that, 'Hey, look, we have to address these.' They all won't be addressed by March 31st. They all won't be addressed by May 1st. It goes through the summer and into August, sometimes. We'll get there."
On if he has a sense of when the official salary cap will be set, and with the salary cap decreasing, if he believes that there will be more veteran players signed to one-year deals compared to a normal unrestricted free agency cycle:
"The first part of your question, I don't have a sense, as far as when they'll give us the true number. But at least we know the ballpark of where it's going to be. We're kind of good there. And, we would always aim low, just in case. But, we know the ballpark of where it's going to be.
Could there be a lot of one-year deals? I'm not sure about that because a one-year deal is a one-year cap hit at the full amount. That may work for some teams and that may not work for others. Multi-year deal, you can prorate the numbers down so that the cap number is smaller. It remains to be seen how that plays out."
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