OT King Dunlap (USA TODAY Sports)
The Chargers kicked off free agency with a whimper, which should've been expected given Tom Telesco's draft-centric philosophies. But after seeing one of its top free agents depart for a division rival, San Diego responded with a handful of moves to improve depth in key areas.
It was no secret the offensive line would undergo a makeover this offseason. Swapping out Louis Vasquez for King Dunlap is hardly the makeover for which fans were clamoring.
Vasquez signed a four-year, $23.5 million deal with the Denver Broncos. It is a tough loss for the Chargers, who lose their best offensive lineman to the team they must hurdle to regain the AFC West crown.
Dunlap was not signed to replace Vasquez, nor is he likely to be in the starting lineup on opening day. Instead, he is a versatile and experienced player who will ensure the team is not starting the likes of Kevin Haslam in 2013.
If the Chargers choose to keep Jared Gaither, who has yet to be released, Dunlap would make an excellent insurance policy. San Diego will still address the offensive line early and often during the NFL Draft.
The Chargers also helped their blocking by adding former Dallas Cowboys TE John Phillips. He is a strong blocker and an underrated complementary receiver. He will also help out on special teams, filling a role similar to the one Justin Peelle held during his tenure with the team (2002-2005).
San Diego's final pickup on Day One was RB Foswhitt "Fozzy" Whittaker. This move has Ken Whisenhunt's fingerprints all over it, as Whittaker spent last season’s final couple weeks on Arizona's practice squad. A former Texas standout, Whittaker was injured late in his senior season and subsequently went undrafted. His ability to return kicks and catch passes out of the backfield gives him a shot to stick as the No. 3 back.
To clear cap space for these new players (and those still to come), the Chargers released NT Antonio Garay and TE Randy McMichael on Tuesday. This after the earlier releases of LB Takeo Spikes and SS Atari Bigby.
As for which players the Chargers will sign next, the team is reportedly interested in OT Eric Winston (Kansas City Chiefs) and CBs Derek Cox (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Jerraud Powers (Indianapolis Colts).
Some Chargers free agents are generating interest elsewhere. Antoine Cason has been contacted by the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. Also, Shaun Phillips has been linked to the Broncos.
Talk about all of San Diego's free agent moves and plans in the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.