DE Igor Olshansky (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty)
General Manager A.J. Smith announced today the Chargers will not retain their four unrestricted free agents: Igor Olshansky, Mike Goff, Marques Harris and Jeremy Newberry. He also talked about LaDainian Tomlinson's contract, Marcus McNeill's surgery and Anthony Waters' release.
Smith's declaration that the Chargers would not pursue their four unrestricted free agents came as little surprise, as none of them figured to return next season.
DE Igor Olshansky is coming off the worst season of his career and frequently complained about his role in the defense; Mike Goff, 33, is past his prime and battling chronic knee pain; Marques Harris failed to develop into anything more than a special-teams player and emergency starter; and Jeremy Newberry struggled badly during his three starts last season.
Goff and Harris will be replaced in-house. The team will let recently re-signed veteran Kynan Forney battle with Scott Mruczkowski to replace Goff at right guard. Antwan Applewhite will slide into Harris' role in the rotation now that Shawne Merriman is back.
As for Olshansky and Newberry, the team will look to replace them through free agency or the draft.
--The Chargers are still working on negotiating a new contract with RB LaDainian Tomlinson. The team is hopeful it can get a deal done, but Tomlinson will likely be released if the two sides cannot come to an accord.
--LT Marcus McNeill underwent neck surgery and will be sidelined for approximately five months. McNeill played through the injury last year, yet was still able to start the final 14 games of the season. He is expected to be healthy in time for training camp. McNeill enters the final year of his contract in 2009, so the team will now likely have to wait to see how he bounces back before renewing extension talks in earnest.
--Smith announced the release of two players, LB Anthony Waters and RB Eldra Buckley. The big surprise was Waters, a third-round pick in the 2007 draft. Waters spent his rookie season on the inactive list while he dealt with the lingering effects of an ACL injury. He was healthy last season, seeing time on special teams and occasionally at outside linebacker, but failed to make a sizable impact.
--Smith confirmed the Chargers placed second-round tenders on Malcom Floyd and Cletis Gordon. Floyd could generate some interest despite the high tender, but chances are both will return next season at a salary of $1.45 million.
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