Free Agency

Bargain Hunting


NFL teams have ravaged the free agent market over the last couple weeks, leaving the list of available players about as enticing as Burger King’s Black Whopper. Nonetheless, there are a few players out there who could still be great value signings, especially if they land with the right team.

Fortunately for the Chargers, some of these players play positions of extreme need.

Take, for example, Louis Delmas. The rangy safety missed the 2015 season with an ACL injury, his second such injury in a nine-month span. However, in the two seasons before the injury he racked up 172 tackles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions.

Delmas recovered from his first injury in less than eight months, making it reasonable to expect he can make a full recovery with more than 12 months between his latest injury and the start of the 2016 season. And while the Chargers may shy away from injury-prone players after what happened last season, it’s worth noting that Delmas, 28, played an average of 13 games per season prior to missing the 2015 campaign.

Another low-risk, high-reward candidate is TE Garrett Graham, who spent his first six seasons with the Texans. Graham well out of favor in Houston last season, when he was passed on the depth chart by the more athletic Ryan Griffin. However, in the three seasons prior to 2015 Graham compiled 95 catches for 1,005 yards and nine touchdowns.

San Diego’s cupboard is bare at tight end behind Antonio Gates, so Graham may be worth a flyer.

Another interesting player worth rolling the dice on is RB Pierre Thomas, 31, the do-it-all back who spent last season in Washington and San Francisco after eight years down in the Bayou with the Saints.

Thomas is an excellent receiver, averaging more than 50 catches per season from 2011-2014, and is evasive in space. He is also efficient on the ground, as evidenced by his career average of 4.6 yards per carry. Those numbers will not be easy to duplicate behind San Diego’s offensive line, but Thomas’ experience and savvy could provide a nice balance to a young backfield that includes Melvin Gordon (22) and Branden Oliver (24).

Thomas, Graham and Delmas all have one thing in common … they had their worst seasons at the worst possible times. All three dealt with limited health and/or limited opportunities in 2015, killing their value right before they hit the open market.

The Chargers would be wise to take advantage of this and give one or more of these players a chance to rebound. If they bounce back to their pre-2015 form, these guys could be absolute steals.

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

1 Comment

  1. noel golondrina

    March 24, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Good job on the research

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