It’s no secret that the San Diego Chargers are heading into a new era under the helm of first-year general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy.
The free agency period in the NFL will begin at 12:01 AM on March 12th, and the question in San Diego is will the Chargers make a big splash in the marketplace?
The new GM’s blueprint for success is building through the Draft, but he has a star quarterback that needs immediate reinforcements on both sides of the ball.
Here are five free agents the San Diego Chargers should target on Tuesday:
Miami Dolphins OT Jake Long
The Chargers desperately need to keep quarterback Philip Rivers upright all season, so they must acquire offensive line help this offseason.
Offensive tackle Jake Long is one of the biggest names in free agency, and in the prime of his career. Long should warrant a huge contract, but he didn’t play well last season due to injury. The Chargers are looking for veteran leadership to help guide an inexperienced offensive line next season.
Buffalo Bills OG Andy Levitre
Chances are pretty high that guard Louis Vasquez will leave San Diego via free agency. An excellent replacement option is offensive guard Adam Levitre, whose price range could be cap-friendly for the Chargers.
He’s an outstanding run blocker that will help to upgrade San Diego’s poor rushing attack from last season. Plus, Levitre is a terrific pass blocker, and this will make life easier in the pocket for Rivers next year.
Arizona Cardinals WR Early Doucet
An excellent option for the beleaguered Chargers' passing game is Early Doucet, who could fit perfectly in the offense as a third-down receiver. He has played under new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt during their time together in Arizona.
Unfortunately, Doucet has been plagued by nagging injuries and inconsistencies catching the football all throughout his career. But when healthy, Doucet provides a combination of speed and agility that creates space downfield on key passing downs.
Indianapolis Colts CB Jerraud Powers
The Chargers need to make a huge upgrade at the cornerback position, and signing Jerraud Powers will give them quality for many years to come. Charger fans will love that he’s one of the few corners in the NFL that can effectively make a tackle on a running play.
The Chargers might be catching a break that Powers is coming off an injury (he had surgery to repair a ligament in his right toe) and could be signed at a discount rate. He might feel this opportunity gives him a new lease on his football life with a familiar face in Telesco, who drafted him in Indianapolis.
New York Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw
The Chargers are in the market to find a complement running back to Ryan Mathews in free agency. The signing of running back Ahmad Bradshaw could give them the type of grit and finesse needed for a successful backfield tandem in the NFL.
The biggest issue with Bradshaw is health, but he has excelled in the past in this type of rushing attack with the New York Giants.
Also, Bradshaw has shown to be a valuable receiver coming out of the backfield thus giving another option for Rivers in the passing game. But, the biggest question is how much does he have left in the tank to be an effective back next season. That answer won’t be known until training camp.