Seattle and Cleveland had offered similar deals to the Dielman camp, according to a source familiar with the situation, and the feeling was Dielman would be signing with Seattle before the day was out.
Things changed this morning.
This morning, San Diego called with the upped offer, as Kris Dielman was on the verge of signing with Seattle.
"They were never in the ballpark," a source said.
Because Dielman was fond of San Diego, the team that originally signed him as an undrafted free agent defensive tackle, he decided it was in his best interest to re-up with the franchise that gave him his start.
Critical of the Chargers for not stepping up for a guard the caliber of Dielman, pointing to the Steve Hutchinson fiasco of last season and Seattle's troubles after he left, the apology from us can't be understated.
Smith maintained that Dielman was a "top priority" but our sources noted that San Diego wasn't even close to begin the process. The Chargers weren't even in the bidding.
Sources were shocked that "San Diego stepped up to the plate. The offer came out of left field."
The six-year deal is worth $40 million with $18 million guaranteed. Over the first three years of the deal, Dielman will make $24 million.
Dielman's spiritied play and aggressive attitude became the catalyst for a strong running game and the Bolts ran left more than any other place along the line - often with Dielman leading the way.
The famed "Power 50" that led to LaDainian Tomlinson's record-breaking touchdown, was a play that was often led by Dielman.
The Chargers will now bring back their starting five in 2007 and the continuity could stay for quite some time with four of the five linemen locked into long-term deals.