NT Jamal Williams (Warren Little/Getty)
The San Diego Chargers got busy Thursday with a flurry of moves to prepare for the team for the 2010 season. Among them were releasing Jamal Williams, tendering Darren Sproles and announcing Kassim Osgood will not return.
The Chargers tendered nine players on Thursday. Five of them -- Darren Sproles, Shawne Merriman, Marcus McNeill, Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd -- were tagged at the first- and third-round level. The biggest surprise on the list is Sproles, whose tender offer is in excess of $7 million.
The day's other shocker was the release of Jamal Williams, the former Pro Bowler and anchor of San Diego's 3-4 defense. Williams missed the final 15 games last season with a triceps injury and will be 34 years old by the time the 2010 season begins. He was scheduled to earn a $1 million bonus later this month and a $5 million salary this season. It is possible the Chargers could bring him back at a discounted price.
Some other players are saying goodbye, as well. Michael Bennett was released, clearing the way for the Chargers to revamp an offense backfield that finished last season ranked No. 32 in ypc (3.3). The team also announced that unrestricted free agents Kassim Osgood, Dennis Norman and Jon Runyan will not return.
Osgood, an elite special teams players, is coming off another Pro Bowl season. This is the second time in the last five years the Chargers have provided the AFC's special-teams rep and not brought him back the following season; it also happened after the 2005 season with FS Hanik Milligan.
The Chargers also tendered four other players in addition to the Big Five listed above. Jeromey Clary bagged a second-round tender while Travis Johnson (first), Charlie Whitehurst (third) and Tim Dobbins (fifth) each got original-round tenders.
It was also announced that DL Antonio Garay, who joined the team late last season, agreed to a two-year contract.
San Diego has four unrestricted free agents it will consider re-signing: TEs Brandon Manumaleuna and Kris Wilson and DLs Alfonso Boone and Ian Scott.
Mike Tolbert and Antwan Applewhite are exclusive-rights free agents and will return.
The Chargers provided injury updates on 10 players. Only five of the players face extended rehab periods. Those players are Kevin Burnett (neck, 3-5 months), Vaughn Martin (ankle, 12 weeks), Legedu Naanee (foot, 12 weeks), Mike Scifres (hernia, 6-12 weeks) and C.J. Spillman (shoulder, 3-4 months).
Three players already completed their surgeries and the subsequent rehab: Luis Castillo (shoulder), Jacques Cesaire (elbow, knee) and Nick Hardwick (shoulder).
Scott Mruczkowski (elbow, 2-4 weeks) and Louis Vasquez (knee, 6-8 weeks) were also on the injury update.
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