SAN DIEGO – With All-Pro safety Eric Weddle probably moving on in free agency, the San Diego Chargers have to find his replacement during the offseason. Third-year cornerback Jason Verrett, now the best player in San Diego’s secondary, will take on more of a leadership role in the defensive backfield with Weddle gone.
The good: Verrett earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, leading the Chargers with three interceptions and 11 pass breakups. After struggling with the New Orleans Saints in 2014, Robinson had a bounce-back season for the Chargers, offering versatility with an ability to play on the perimeter and as a slot defender. San Diego gave up 22 passing touchdowns in 2015, 10th best in the NFL. The Chargers allowed 237 passing yards a contest last season, No. 14 in the NFL.
The bad: The Chargers totaled just 11 interceptions in 2015, tied for 21st in the NFL. Flowers suffered through nagging injuries and inconsistent play last season, finishing the year on injured reserve with a knee issue. San Diego gave up 2,092 yards after the catch last season, No. 28 in the league. For the first time since 2010 Weddle did not play a full, 16-game season, finishing 2015 on injured reserve with a groin injury. Weddle also finished without an interception during the regular season for the first time in his nine-year career.
The money: Flowers is scheduled to make $7.75 million in fully guaranteed salary in 2016, as part of a four-year, $36.4 million deal he signed last year. The Chargers probably will look to play Flowers inside more as a slot defender in 2016 to take advantage of his field awareness and instinctive play. Stuckey, a core special teams player, is scheduled to make $1.235 million in non-guaranteed salary for the upcoming season. Verrett is slated to make a little over $1 million in the third year of his rookie deal.
Draft priority: The Chargers will look to the draft and free agency for a potential replacement for Weddle, but players like Phillips will be in the mix as well. Possible targets in free agency include Tashaun Gipson of the Cleveland Browns and Walter Thurmond of the Philadelphia Eagles. Draft possibilities include Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey, West Virginia’s Karl Joseph and Southern Utah’s Miles Killebrew. San Diego also has to figure out where to play McCoil. At 6-4 and 220 pounds, the former CFL standout totaled 76 tackles, two sacks, three interceptions and one fumble recovery in helping lead the Edmonton Eskimos to the 2015 Grey Cup.