The San Diego Chargers season is approaching very fast. There are many questions surrounding the team, among them is the future of its starting safety. Eric Weddle is in the last year of his contract and reportedly wants a brand new extension now or else. He had been holding out of all Chargers activities including OTA’s. Weddle did show up for Mini Camp last week, but had some very harsh words for the team.
Weddle did indicate that he wanted to be a Charger “forever” and the fact he showed up for minicamp is promising. This being the final year of the safeties 5-year, $40 million dollar deal, the two sides were bound to get chippy. The contract, at the time was viewed by many around the NFL as ridiculous. The Chargers took a lot of heat in investing in Weddle for that amount of money. It is pretty safe to say that Weddle has justified the contract and has played his best football during the contract. He proved the Chargers correct in their evaluation of WEddle and his worth.
For Weddle to want an extension is natural. He has a young family and nobody likes playing out their final year of a contract while in limbo. He is a Chargers team captain and a very important part of the San Diego Chargers football program. The Chargers should have seen this coming. They should have approached Weddle correctly and addressed this situation. The Chargers showed a lot of faith in Weddle while signing him to that $40 million dollar contract. With that being said, perhaps Weddle and his management team would show the Chargers the same respect in a new potential deal.
If Weddle were to give a “San Diego Discount” to the Chargers and re-sign at a more reasonable back-loaded contract, the team could go out and sign more lucrative type free agents. At the age of 30, Weddle has played some real nice football in his career. He has made a very nice living doing so. At some point it has to be about the team. He has always been a team player, and I was shocked to see him hold out of any Chargers activities. The two sides are now posturing against each other. An agreement could be reached eventually, but each side would need to budge on their current stance.
The Chargers franchise plain and simply….is doing some strange things. The Stadium issue and potential move to Los Angeles is obviously the most troubling thing circling the Chargers and the City of San Diego. The Chargers have been asking for a new stadium for years, the city has all but ignored them. The relationship has soured and we are at a breaking point in the relationship.
The Chargers are of great importance to the City of San Diego. The team has to know that. For the team to get to this point they truly must feel betrayed by the city. The Chargers secretive behavior is a very troubling sign for the team. The treatment of Weddle and the whole Philip Rivers draft trade fiasco are concerning. Rivers is not happy, Weddle is not happy, the fans are not happy. Something needs to be resolved and a sense of stability needs to come over this team. There is just too much uncertainty in the Chargers locker room right now to expect them to perform at a high level.
Eric Weddle is a three-time Pro-Bowl selection and the leader of the team on defense. If the Chargers think they can find a replacement easily, they are sorely mistaken. His +18.9 grade at safety from Pro Football Focus was the best as any safety in the NFL last year. That proves that Weddle does the intangibles you seek in a game. He is an absolute ball hawk and always seems to be in the right place on the field. Instincts like that cannot be taught.
Weddle has averaged 84 tackles and three INT’s for his entire Chargers career. He was the teams 2nd round pick in the 2007 draft out of the University of Utah. Weddle has proved to be a sort of iron man on the field as well. Only missing one game in the past five football seasons. That is a tremendous because playing the game of football can be extremely harsh on the body. If your captain can stay on the field then he will surely justify his contract.
Eric Weddle and the Chargers can still resolve their issues and get some thing done. In all likelihood a three year extension at a decent price would get it done. Weddle has confidence in his abilities and the Chargers could possibly get a performance loaded contract to protect themselves. As I stated, the Chargers showed a lot of confidence in him, he should show the same respect to the team with a deal that is more franchise friendly. The Chargers have many potential free agents next season with Weddle, Rivers, Johnnie Troutman, Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd, Ladarius Green and Kendall Reyes. The team has space under the cap, but will have to be really creative to retain all these players.
Hopefully the two sides can agree to a deal and this does not drag on into the season. Things like this can be a terrible distraction for the team. I have never seen the fans lash out on Weddle like they have in the past few months. They are upset with the team possibly moving and really do not want to hear a player whine about making more money. I sympathize with Weddle, but some fans are so perturbed with the team they don’t want to hear anything negative from their players. This Chargers season will be an interesting season. So much rides on the future of the team, its players and the city of San Diego.