Morning links: What Brown can do for Bolts

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
8:45
AM ET
The San Diego Chargers capped what appeared to be a slow start to free agency by filling an important need in signing Indianapolis Colts free-agent running back Donald Brown to a three-year deal.

The Chargers leaned on the running game in the second half of the season with the emergence of Ryan Mathews. However, with Mathews hobbled at the end of the year after suffering a severe ankle sprain against Oakland, San Diego’s offense sputtered in the playoffs and the Chargers ultimately lost at Denver.

Add to that the fact that Mathews and third-down back Danny Woodhead’s contracts expire after the 2014 season, and you can understand the urgency Chargers general manager Tom Telesco had in bringing in reliable, impact player at running back as insurance.

Further, this year’s running back crop in the draft does not have many impact players at the top of the board, which means teams looking for help at running back had to fill that need through free agency.

Brown can fill in as an every-down runner, but is best suited to be used as a complement to Mathews. A one-cut, downhill runner with power and speed, Brown is a good fit for San Diego’s power and zone-blocking scheme. He’s also a patient runner and has good hands out of the backfield, with 83 career catches for 767 yards.

With Brown in the fold, Chargers free-agent running back Ronnie Brown likely will not return to the team.

Check out some highlights of Brown in action here.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego believes the cerebral Brown is a good fit in the Chargers’ offense.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports already has grades out for NFL teams on the first day of free agency. Prisco doesn’t like San Diego’s signing of Brown. Prisco: “Why? Why? Why? I don't get it. Yes, Ryan Mathews misses time, but why not draft one? Brown played well last season, but is he worth a three-year deal at $4 million a year? Weird. Grade D”

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wraps up a busy first day of free agency, noting the remarkable run on the safety position that included T.J. Ward signing with the Broncos.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post writes the Broncos are using free agency to put the ‘D’ back in Denver, which includes confirmation of a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that released Dallas Cowboys edge rusher DeMarcus Ware will visit the Broncos' facility.

Eric D. Williams

ESPN San Diego Chargers reporter

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