Chargers Relieved By Replenished O-Line
OT L.J. Shelton (Doug Benc/Getty)
OT L.J. Shelton (Doug Benc/Getty)

Posted Jun 6, 2008


In an offseason with few moves, the Chargers two biggest one might have come via two big bodies. Center Jeremy Newberry and tackle L.J. Shelton -- along with linebacker Derek Smith -- were the marquee signings for the Chargers. None of the three will garner many headlines on the national scale, but the Chargers are pleased with what they've added to the offensive line.

The Chargers are set on making another run deep into the playoffs and they want to make sure they have some insurance just in case things don't go as planned up front.

In Jeremy Newberry, the Chargers acquire a free agent who is entering his 11th season. He could likely compete for a starting job -- if staying healthy -- on many NFL teams.

But mainly he is a Charger because the team isn't certain Nick Hardwick will be ready to go when the Panthers visit Sept. 7 to open the season. Hardwick had foot surgery this offseason and there's talk he could miss the first month of the season.

That's where the signing of the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Newberry, who was with the Raiders last year, comes in.

"It's nice to know that you have got somebody who is a veteran, who is experienced, who can step in there and hold the fort, so to speak, and bring more to the table than just a center," said general manager A. J. Smith of the versatile Newberry.

"And it's competition. The rest of it is we'll see what happens in training camp. It makes us feel better, that's for sure. It's an insurance policy."

Same goes with L.J. Shelton.

The Chargers turned to backup Jeromey Clary last year when starter Shane Olivea's game showed a drop-off at right tackle and he was replaced by Clary. And while pleased with the way Clary played down the stretch, the team wants to be protected in case he stumbles this year.

"I like looking at L.J. Shelton and Jeremy Newberry on our football team," Smith said. Shelton arrives after playing last year with the Dolphins.

"L.J. is going to come in here and compete," Smith said. "We like our starters but, everyone knows how important we believe it is to have depth. L.J. will provide that."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--RB Tyronne Gross (not tendered as ERFA).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--OT L.J. Shelton: FA Dolphins; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--LB Derek Smith: FA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--OT Jeromey Clary: ERFA; terms unknown.
--WR Malcom Floyd: ERFA; terms unknown.
--CB Cletis Gordon: ERFA; terms unknown.
--CB Steve Gregory: ERFA; terms unknown.
--LB Marques Harris: RFA; tendered at $1.47M; terms unknown.
--DT Brandon McKinney: ERFA; terms unknown.
--G Scott Mruczkowski: Potential RFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--QB Billy Volek: UFA; $9M/3 yrs, $3M SB.
PLAYERS LOST
--CB Drayton Florence: UFA Jaguars; $36M/6 yrs, $12M SB.
--S Marlon McCree (released).
--FB Lorenzo Neal (released).
--OT Shane Olivea (released).
--K Dave Rayner: Not tendered as RFA/Dolphins; terms unknown.
--RB Michael Turner: UFA Falcons; $34.5M/6 yrs, $15M guaranteed.



Related Stories
Newberry's Arrival Tells of Hardwick's Trials
 -by SDBoltReport.com  Jun 6, 2008
Breaking Down the Bolts: Offensive Line
 -by SDBoltReport.com  Jun 4, 2008
Insider Scouting Report: Jeremy Newberry
 -by SDBoltReport.com  Jun 2, 2008

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