Mailbag: What’s the Latest on Free Agency Plans?

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Q: Will you sign someone already? – Marcus Giormandi

A: Jeesh, free agency hasn’t even started yet and these questions are already pouring in. Every single season, fans of all 32 teams start getting antsy when they see moves around the league, feeling like their squad isn’t doing enough. Well, every year I say patience is needed. General Manager Tom Telesco and the Bolts have enough of a proven track record where they’ve earned fans’ trust. After all, it’s a league-wide fact that very few players make the Pro Bowl the year after joining a new team as a free agent. For instance, only four free agents were selected to the annual all-star showcase a year ago. Well, the Bolts have had one make it each of the following three seasons – Mike Pouncey in 2018, Russell Okung in 2017 and Casey Hayward in 2016. Telesco stresses how the team is “selective” in free agency. It may not always “win” headlines in March, but it’s clearly been a recipe for success. If you want more on the Bolts’ outlook, Hayley Elwood wrote something for our site further expounding on Telesco’s philosophy.

Q: We’ve seen a lot of big name FAs already start to find that next team. Of the remaining FAs, which catch your eye as ones that would fit the culture in L.A. and help the Chargers take the next step?? – Bobby Caldrone

A: I don’t like to get caught up in the “Oh, I want the Chargers to sign this player, this player and this player” game. That being said, I’m only human so of course I have guys I want the Bolts to sign from other teams. However, I’m more interested in which players the Bolts’ retain. As Telesco has often said, there’s usually a reason why a team opts to let a player leave via free agency. And with the Chargers’ mantra of draft, develop and re-sign, I’m most eager to see who checks the third and final box of that philosophy.

Q: What will the Chargers do to answer the spot left at safety? – Gilbert Romo

A: That’s the million-dollar question! The Bolts clearly have a plan in mind, which is why they released Jahleel Addae over the weekend. First off, I need to give props to Addae. The undrafted free agent went from a lightly regarded prospect to a reliable starter and heart and soul of the defense in a matter of six seasons. He set the tone for what the “Jack Boyz” have become. Now, what do they do at free safety going forward? Well, Rayshawn Jenkins is currently under contract, and he certainly flashed during the postseason. Pundits have also noted that the free agent market is loaded at the position, and it’s also considered to be fairly deep in the draft. I can see the Chargers going both paths even, but it’s clear they have an exact plan they’re ready to execute. We’ll all find it out together in the coming weeks.

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Q: Who was the tight end you wrote (about) sitting in with that we interviewed at (the) Combine? – Armando White

A: Well, if I told you I don’t think Telesco would let me in ever again! I’ve sat in on four over the past three seasons, and it cracks me up as people try to guess who was in the room and try to get me to spill the beans. Not gonna happen! Also, for those who don’t know what Armando is talking about, I followed TE Coach Rip Scherer for a day in the life longform at the Combine, and that included sitting in on a top-secret interview with a tight end prospect. You can read the whole thing here.

Q: Rick - Do you have a copy of whatever that draft day trade chart thing I read about often? Why is it used? (Doesn’t) everyone have their own opinions on stuff so why use something everyone else does? – Damion Salsta

A: First off, you can find the famed draft trade chart here. As far as why teams use it, it’s really a basic outline of value. Each team has its own tweaks, so I don’t think it’s a set-in-stone metric for teams to pull off trades. As to where it came from, Jimmy Johnson actually developed it, and while I can write a lengthy write-up on why, here’s what he had to say for himself to Colin Cowherd a few years back:

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