We continue our player-by-player look at the San Diego Chargers' potential unrestricted free agents with a closer look at a playmaker in the secondary.

Flowers
CB Brandon Flowers

Flowers started 14 games last season, playing a total of 769 snaps. He missed time due to concussion and groin injuries. A second-round selection by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2008 draft, Flowers has totaled 20 interceptions, 101 pass deflections and four forced fumbles in seven NFL seasons. Pro Football Focus ranks Flowers as the top cornerback available in free agency.

Chargers career: A late addition to the 2014 roster after signing a one-year, $3 million deal in June, Flowers served as a significant upgrade to San Diego’s ailing secondary in his first season with the Chargers. The Virginia Tech product added toughness, versatility and playmaking ability to the back end of San Diego’s defense. Flowers, 29, finished with 52 combined tackles, led the team with three interceptions and also totaled 11 pass breakups. San Diego allowed 259 passing yards per game the previous season (29th in the NFL), but that number dipped to 214 this past season (fourth in the NFL). Flowers deserves a fair share of the credit for that.

Argument for keeping Flowers: He can play both in the slot and on the perimeter. And with Jason Verrett returning from a shoulder injury and Shareece Wright set to hit free agency, the Chargers need Flowers’ experience and playmaking ability for an otherwise inexperienced group.

Argument for letting Flowers go: He’s getting long in the tooth, and the Chargers have enough salary cap space to pursue a younger option in free agency like Byron Maxwell of the Seattle Seahawks. Younger players currently on the roster like Chris Davis, Steve Williams and Greg Ducre also could help fill the void.

What should happen with Flowers: The Chargers want Flowers back at the right price and will work to get something done before free agency begins March 10. Not only did Flowers perform well, he provided leadership and a junkyard mentality to a young cornerback position group.
Join us today at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT for NFL Nation TV's Spreecast as we return for episode No. 46 with our sights fully set on free agency.

Host Paul Gutierrez (San Francisco 49ers reporter) and co-hosts Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) Will be joined by four other NFL Nation reporters throughout the show.

Michael Rothstein (Detroit Lions reporter) will take us behind the Lions' decision to avoid franchise-tagging defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and also give us an idea of where the prized lineman might end up.

Mike Reiss (New England Patriots reporter) will join to make sense of New England's decision to place the franchise tag on kicker Stephen Gostkowski, instead of potentially doing so with free-agent defensive backs Darrelle Revis or Devin McCourty.

Todd Archer (Dallas Cowboys reporter) will give us an update on the Cowboys' apparent decision to let DeMarco Murray, 2014's rushing leader, test the open market.

Sticking with offense, Rob Demovsky (Green Bay Packers reporter) checks in to outline why the Packers may be content doing the same with receiver Randall Cobb, who reportedly was looking to stay in Green Bay for $12 million a year.

As always, viewers are encouraged to log in and ask the panelists questions as well as contribute in the chat feature.

Good morning.

John Kentera of The Mighty 1090 AM radio talked with citizens’ stadium advisory group chairman Adam Day, who said according to security at Qualcomm Stadium, 2-3,000 fans attended the rally and public forum Monday evening.

You can listen to that conversation here.

Now that the forum is over, Day said the group will turn its focus toward choosing a location to recommend to San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer. The group will meet again on Tuesday.

“I think the overwhelming testimony heard here tonight was to build a facility at this existing location,” Day said. “We did hear some suggestions for a downtown site. But no matter what, the consensus was 100 percent they don’t want the Chargers to leave San Diego obviously, and neither do we.
“We want to find a way to build a multi-use facility that will work well for the Chargers, Aztecs football and all sorts of other civic events.”

Bernie Wilson of The Associated Press notes that several hundred more fans watched the forum on video screens in Qualcomm Stadium’s plaza because there was not enough room in the club suite.

Jay Paris of The Mighty 1090 AM radio writes that the community that absorbed talk of stadiums being erected in Los Angeles for their team answered back on Monday.

Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego writes that much more will be required than the response from fans at the public forum on Monday to keep the team in San Diego.

ABC Ch. 10 news in San Diego provides video from the public forum.

Marty Caswell of The Mighty 1090 offers more video.

Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reports that Dwight Freeney will not retire and is seeking to play a 14th NFL season.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com profiles draft prospect Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown.

Former Chargers outside linebacker Jarret Johnson says he wants to officially retire as a Baltimore Raven.

ESPN NFL Insider Kevin Seifert discusses the increased use of wearable technology to help better evaluate pro football players.
video

SAN DIEGO -- A standing-room-only crowd of more than 400 people filled a club suite at Qualcomm Stadium on Monday as fans of the San Diego Chargers took advantage of their first opportunity to weigh in on plans for a new stadium.

The mayor-appointed citizens' stadium advisory group took comments on the potential locations of a new stadium -- the Qualcomm Stadium site and a parcel downtown next to the San Diego Padres' Petco Park -- along with suggestions of how to fund the project.

Most people in attendance clearly supported building a new stadium at Qualcomm. The Mission Valley site recently emerged as the mayor's office's preferred alternative because of escalating real estate prices, the threat of legal action and potential complications in relocating a bus yard's property, which would serve as part of a parcel of land holding a stadium built downtown.

Longtime season-ticket holders remain leery of giving up tailgating in the immense parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium.

The public meeting was the first time that fans could show their support since the Chargers announced a partnership with the Oakland Raiders to build a $1.7 billion NFL stadium the two teams would share in Carson, California.

Chants of "Chargers" and "Save our Bolts" echoed outside in the parking lot during a rally before the meeting. Those cheers continued inside, with the advisory group receiving a standing ovation as they entered the room and took their seats.

Dion Rich, a well-known gate crasher who has sneaked into 35 Super Bowls, was one of several on hand who said the new stadium should be built on the Qualcomm Stadium site.


(Read full post)


SAN DIEGO -- Goldman Sachs, the longtime investment banker of the San Diego Chargers, is committed to cover any operating losses suffered by the team in the first few years of a potential relocation to Los Angeles, along with any costs for renovations necessary to a temporary venue, according to the Sports Business Journal.

Mark Fabiani, the point person on the stadium issue for the Chargers, would only confirm that the team has a long-standing working relationship with Goldman Sachs and that the investment banking firm will work with the Chargers on a finance plan for a new stadium in the Los Angeles market.

"We are in a hypercompetitive environment regarding Los Angeles at this moment, and so we won't be releasing specifics on our work with Goldman Sachs," Fabiani said. "The bottom line is that we, along with Goldman Sachs, are completely confident that the Raiders/Chargers L.A. stadium proposal can feasibly be financed."

The Chargers and the Oakland Raiders announced a partnership to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, California, last month. Both teams said in a joint statement that they remain committed to finding a solution in their home markets but will continue to work in Carson to preserve their options in the event that efforts in their local markets fail.

The proposal was in response to an announcement in January in which a developer and a company operated by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke unveiled plans to build a stadium on land he owns near Hollywood Park.


(Read full post)


We continue our player-by-player look at the San Diego Chargers’ potential unrestricted free agents with a closer look at a dependable but aging veteran running back.

Brown
RB Ronnie Brown

The No. 2 overall selection of the 2005 draft by the Miami Dolphins, Brown has played 11 NFL seasons, including stints with the Dolphins and Chargers, along with the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles. During his pro career, Brown has rushed for 5,391 yards and 38 touchdowns. He also has totaled 1,966 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

Chargers career: The Chargers added Brown midway through the season in 2014, with Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead unavailable to due injuries. Brown finished with 63 yards on 20 carries in 2014, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. He played in 84 snaps on offense for the Chargers. Brown, 33, played for the Chargers during the 2012-13 seasons. He appeared in 30 games with one start, carrying the ball 91 times in the regular season for 377 yards (4.1 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Brown also totaled 57 catches for 431 yards (7.6 yards per catch).

Argument for keeping Brown: The Auburn University product has the trust of Philip Rivers, can be productive if not overused and is a good mentor for younger players in the running back room – something important to have if the Chargers choose to draft an every-down running back in the early rounds.

Argument for letting Brown go: San Diego already has Woodhead, Donald Brown and Branden Oliver on the roster, and the Chargers still need to add an every-down running back through the draft or free agency. Brown could be the odd man out.

What should happen with Brown: He’ll have an opportunity to explore his options in free agency and could return again during the season if San Diego suffers injuries at running back. Brown is a good communicator and very knowledgeable about the game, so perhaps coaching is in his future.
SAN DIEGO -- The citizens' stadium advisory group appointed by the San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer will hold a public forum to discuss a location and a finance plan to fund a new stadium for the Chargers on Monday.

The meeting will take place at Qualcomm Stadium in Club 5, which can be accessed through Gate B. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the forum is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Public testimony about the location -- either Qualcomm Stadium or downtown -- will be heard during the first half of the forum. Public testimony about financing will be heard during the second half of the forum.

A large outdoor screen and speakers will be positioned on the plaza level for those who can’t get into the forum. Club 5 holds 400 people. Radio stations 600 KOGO AM, The Mighty 1090 AM and Xtra 1360 Fox Sport Radio will carry the entire forum live. Also, U-T San Diego will be live-streaming the event.

Save Our Bolts will hold a rally before the forum beginning at 5 p.m.
Good morning.

Mark Fabiani, the point person for the Chargers on the stadium issue, tells Annie Heilbrunn of The Mighty 1090 AM radio that the team would take less in a stadium deal to stay in San Diego in this video.

“They want to keep the team here,” Fabiani said. “And clearly they are willing to take a deal that’s not as lucrative as a Los Angeles deal to keep a team here. But at the same time, if there’s no deal here – if there’s nothing – that’s when you have to look at alternatives.

“At some point, you have to protect your other options. Because if you don’t, imagine that you end up with no stadium deal in San Diego. You end up with two teams in Los Angeles, wiping out your local business there, and you have no leverage anymore because there’s no other place to go. I doubt the city would even return our phone calls if there were two teams in Los Angeles. So that’s the nightmare scenario that you can’t allow to happen.”

Michael Smolens of U-T San Diego says don’t call the San Diego mayor’s nine-member appointed citizens’ stadium advisory group independent.

ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer discusses the news that Dallas will let running back DeMarco Murray test the waters in free agency in this video. Murray could be a potential target for the Chargers, should San Diego not bring back Ryan Mathews.

Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego writes that former Chargers general manager A.J. Smith retired from football.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com offers a draft profile on Alabama receiver Amari Cooper. The NFL Network compares Cooper to Marvin Harrison.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has the Chargers selecting Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff in his latest mock draft.

NFL.com provides a list of NFL pro days.
With free agency set to begin on March 10, we begin a player-by-player look at the San Diego Chargers' potential unrestricted free agents. And we’ll start with one of the team’s special-teams standouts from 2014.

Ajirotutu
WR Seyi Ajirotutu

Ajirotutu played in 16 games, starting one for the Chargers when Keenan Allen was unavailable due to a collarbone injury. Ajirotutu finished with four receptions for 45 yards in 2014. Even though special-teams captain Darrell Stuckey earned a Pro Bowl invitation, Ajirotutu led the team in special-teams tackles with 19 and won San Diego’s special teams player of the year award. Ajirotutu has recorded 24 catches for 420 yards and three touchdowns in five NFL seasons.

Chargers career: Ajirotutu signed with the Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Fresno State in 2010. He spent the 2011 season with the Carolina Panthers, but rejoined San Diego in 2012. Ajirotutu turns 28 in June.

Argument for keeping Ajirotutu: He’s a core special-teams player, knows the offense and quarterback Philip Rivers has a good comfort level with Ajirotutu. Ajirotutu offers versatility and experience, along with production in adverse situations.

Argument for letting Ajirotutu go: The Chargers need more big-play ability and speed on the perimeter, and they could find that in the draft. Not bringing Ajirotutu back would clear a path for young receivers like Javontee Herndon and Torrence Allen to compete for spots on the back end of the roster, along with developmental prospects like Dontrelle Inman and Austin Pettis. However, those players would have to prove that they could contribute on special teams.

What should happen with Ajirotutu: He signed a one-year, $730,000 deal to re-join the Chargers in free agency last year. If San Diego can bring him back on similar terms, why not have Ajirotutu on the 90-man roster to start training camp and let him compete for a job? Teams that compete for Super Bowls need role players like Ajirotutu to contribute to a winning effort on game days.
In need of an every-down running back, should they let Ryan Mathews go in free agency, the San Diego Chargers picked a good year to find one in this year’s draft.

“You can get those guys pretty much at any point in the draft that you want because there’s such great depth this year at the running back position,” ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said, “Every year you can find them. You can get a guy like Javorius 'Buck' Allen from USC in the third or fourth round. I think even a T.J. Yeldon from Alabama drops down into the fifth or sixth round. Terrell Watson of Azusa Pacific will be a nice, late-round pick, as will Cameron Artis-Payne from Auburn. Mike Davis of South Carolina might be a late-round pick. So you can find running backs.”

Among those players suggested by Kiper, the Chargers need to find a workhorse thumper who can grind out yards between the tackles. Here are a handful of options the Chargers could be targeting in this year’s draft.

Click here for an updated list of all the measurables for the running back draft prospects.

Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin: At 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, Gordon is deservedly considered the top running back prospect in this year’s draft. He put up video-game numbers in his final season at Wisconsin, rushing for an NCAA-record 408 yards against Nebraska, finishing with 4,915 rushing yards and averaging 7.8 yards per carry during his career with the Badgers. Gordon backed up those numbers with a solid workout at the scouting combine. You’d like to see a little more top-end speed, but a 4.52-second time in the 40-yard dash is fast enough. The only question about Gordon is his pass-catching and pass-protection ability on third down. Gordon is a true home run threat who could serve as an every-down back for the Chargers.

Jay Ajayi, Boise State: The Texas native finished with 3,796 rushing yards and 55 total touchdowns during his career for the Broncos, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. A tough, between-the-tackles runner, Ajayi compares himself to Marshawn Lynch because of his willingness to fight for every yard. At 6-foot and 221 pounds, Ajayi ran a 4.57-second time in the 40-yard dash and posted a 39-inch vertical jump. He’s also a good receiver, finishing with 50 receptions for 535 yards in his final season at Boise State.

Tevin Coleman, Indiana: At 5-11 and 206 pounds, Coleman rushed for a school-record 2,036 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 7.5 yards per carry. Half of Coleman’s 28 career touchdowns gained 40-plus yards. Coleman also showed toughness, playing half of the season with a broken toe. He did not participate in on-field workouts at the scouting combine because of the injury, but pushed up 225 pounds 25 times on the bench press. Coleman is a one-cut, downhill runner with outstanding burst once he gets to the second level of the defense.

Duke Johnson, Miami: At 5-9 and 207 pounds, Johnson is electric when he gets into the open field. He finished with 1,652 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in his final season at Miami, averaging 6.8 yards per carry. Johnson also caught 38 passes for 421 yards and three receiving touchdowns in 2014. Johnson’s 4.54 in the 40 was a bit disappointing, considering how fast he plays on film. But his production, vision and ability to make defenders miss clearly translates to the next level.

Buck Allen, USC: At 6-foot and 221 pounds, Allen is physical enough to serve as a workhorse running back in the NFL. And he’s fast enough, running a 4.53 in the 40 at the combine -- good speed for his size. Allen finished with 1,489 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in his final season with the Trojans. He also totaled 41 receptions for 458 yards and a receiving touchdown, so he can contribute in the passing game. Allen has good feet and short-area quickness for a bigger back.

David Johnson, Northern Iowa: At 6-1 and 224 pounds, Johnson is an easy strider with good, long speed once he reaches the open field. Johnson ran the 40 in 4.50 seconds at the scouting combine, so the speed is there. He finished with 1,553 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in his final season at Northern Iowa, so the production is there. Johnson also totaled 38 receptions for 536 yards and two receiving touchdowns, so he has some ability as a third-down back as well. Johnson could be a mid-to-late-round sleeper for the Chargers if they are looking for running back depth later in the draft.

Study warns about Inglewood project

February, 27, 2015
Feb 27
9:45
PM ET
video

LOS ANGELES -- A report commissioned by the developer of a downtown Los Angeles football stadium warns that a rival project nearby could be a potential terrorist target because of its proximity to Los Angeles International Airport.

The report was released Friday at a time when several potential stadium projects are competing to bring an NFL team to Southern California, two decades after the Rams and Raiders exited.

The 14-page report was commissioned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which wants to build a stadium in downtown Los Angeles. A development venture linked to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has proposed a stadium in Inglewood, about 10 miles from downtown.

The report by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge finds that constructing an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood -- as close as 2.5 miles from an airport runway -- "materially increases the risk of a terrorist event."

Ridge concluded that in a world in which terrorism is a recognized threat, "the peril of placing a National Football League stadium in the direct flight path of (the airport)" ... outweighs whatever benefits it would bring over its lifespan.

The Hollywood Park Land Co., which is developing the Inglewood site, declined comment.

AEG told the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the study, that "we have been working diligently and in good faith ... to advance NFL discussions while also exploring plans for other development alternatives around the LA Live campus."

According to the Times, the league took no position on the study.


(Read full post)


Good morning.

In this ESPN Insider piece, NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. ranks the top 40 wide receivers in this year’s draft.

Not surprisingly, Alabama’s Amari Cooper, West Virginia’s Kevin White and Louisville’s DeVante Parker top his list. Kiper compares those three receivers in terms of talent to the 1985 draft class that produced Eddie Brown, Al Toon and Jerry Rice, along with the 1988 draft class that produced Tim Brown, Michael Irvin and Sterling Sharpe.

However, Kiper says like last year, the 2015 draft class also has a deep pool of talent available later in the draft at the receiver position. And that’s good for the San Diego Chargers, who need to add more playmakers to that position group.

Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network has the Chargers taking Georgia running back Todd Gurley in his latest mock draft.

Chargers.com talks to NFL media members about what types of players San Diego should draft in this video.

Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated profiles former Chargers offensive lineman Roman Oben, now the NFL’s director of youth football, about his task on helping to create a safer game.

Bryan Curtis of Grantland writes about the second statistical war, something he calls Moneyball II. It’s worth a read this morning.

Former NFL executive Jim Steeg talks about the progress made by the stadium advisory group with Scott Kaplan of The Mighty 1090 in this audio link.

San Diego County supervisor Ron Roberts talks with Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth of Xtra 1360 Fox Sports Radio about possible funding strategies for building a new NFL stadium in this audio link.
video
SAN DIEGO -- In his latest mock draft Insider, ESPN NFL draft guru Todd McShay has the San Diego Chargers selecting University of Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown.

McShay had the Chargers selecting Florida State defensive tackle Eddie Goldman in the mock draft before this one.

At 6-foot-2 and 319 pounds, Brown could be the stout run stuffer the Chargers are looking for in the middle of John Pagano’s 3-4 defensive scheme. Brown was productive in 2014, finishing with 71 tackles -- including 13 for a loss -- and 6.5 sacks.

A consensus first-team All-American, Brown finished as a finalist for both the Nagurski Trophy, honoring the nation's top defensive player, and the Outland Trophy, honoring the nation's top interior lineman. Married with two children, Brown is a mature player who fits the culture general manager Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy continue to develop in San Diego.

Brown had a strong combine, running a 5.05-second, 40-yard time and bench pressing 225 pounds 26 times.

The Chargers could use help along the interior of the team’s defensive line. The Chargers allowed 4.53 yards per rush, which was No. 29 in the NFL in 2014. San Diego also finished 29th in the league in sacks with 26.

However, the team’s personnel department might not value the defensive tackle position enough to select Brown in the first round. San Diego drafted a developmental prospect at defensive tackle in the fifth round of last year’s draft, Arkansas State product Ryan Carrethers.

Carrethers was inactive for the first three games as he learned Pagano’s system, but earned a start midway through the year before suffering a dislocated elbow that cut short his rookie campaign. Carrethers could be part of the solution for the Chargers at nose tackle.
SAN DIEGO -- ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. held a conference call with reporters on Thursday and was asked about the deep pool of talent at the running back position in this year’s draft.

 While Kiper has the San Diego Chargers selecting Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon at No. 17 in his latest mock draft, he believes that NFL teams can wait until later in the draft to get a quality back.

Running back is a priority for the Chargers, with Ryan Mathews set to hit free agency. The Chargers averaged 3.2 yards per attempt on first down runs -- when defenses know offenses want to run the football -- second-worst in the NFL.

“I would not take a rookie running back in the first round, but I would from the second round on,” Kiper said.

Kiper said that runners like Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman could be had in the second round, while players like Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah or David Johnson of Northern Iowa could go in the third round.

He also pointed to talented ball carriers like Miami’s Duke Johnson, Boise State’s Jay Ajayi, Michigan State's Jeremy Langford and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon may be available in the fourth of fifth rounds.

“Take your pick,” Kiper said. “You can find them. They are there every year, and they are going to be there again this season.”

Contract numbers for King Dunlap

February, 25, 2015
Feb 25
11:15
PM ET
Dunlap
SAN DIEGO -- According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan, San Diego Chargers left tackle King Dunlap re-signed with the team, receiving a four-year, $28 million deal.

The contract included $13 million in guaranteed money. Dunlap will make $9 million in total compensation in 2015, and $14 million in the first two years of the deal.

"I'm very excited and I love being a Charger," Dunlap told the team's web site. "I love the guys on this team. It's a great city and a great place, so I'm very excited to be back. It was very important to get it done early and out of the way.

"It means a lot knowing how much this team values me. Hearing what my coaches and teammates have said means a lot as both a player and a person. It motivates me to play hard to the best of my ability. I've been working hard every year, and I'm going to work even harder to prove the contract I just got."

SPONSORED HEADLINES