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Friday, December 20, 2013
Morning Links: Woodhead a bargain

By Eric D. Williams

SAN DIEGO -- Good morning. Bill Barnwell of Grantland takes a look at bargain players NFL teams secured recently through free agency, and San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead makes the list. San Diego signed Woodhead to a two-year, $3.5 million deal in the offseason during free agency. Chargers left tackle King Dunlap (two years, $4 million) and former San Diego edge rusher Shaun Phillips (one year, $1 million) also found places on Barnwell’s list.

Barnwell: “Left out of the Patriots’ plans after the emergence of Shane Vereen as their receiving back, Woodhead has been part of the league’s most underrated running back platoon alongside Ryan Mathews this year. He has the third-most receiving yards of any running back in 2013, and his versatility as a willing pass-blocker and capable inside runner makes him an essential player to the Chargers. Even better, his cap hold for 2013 is a mere $1.25 million, rising to $2.25 million next year. He's been one of the best signings in free agency.”

In Kevin Seifert ESPN's piece looking at the possibility of expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams, most players asked are against it, including San Diego linebacker Jarret Johnson. “I like it the way it is,” Johnson said. “You look at the way the bowl system is, and you’ve got teams that are 6-5 and nobody has heard of them all year, and all of a sudden they’re in a bowl -- like there's supposed to be a reward for being mediocre. I would hate for the playoffs in the NFL to end up like that.”

Chris Wesserling of NFL.com ranks San Diego No. 14 in his list ranking the best offensive nucleus in the league. Just based on production, the Chargers should be much higher.

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated breaks down Keenan Allen’s impressive rookie season using All-22 film.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com writes that San Diego’s offense is motivated to play better against the Raiders after struggling in Oakland earlier this year.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego says the Chargers need to be aware of Oakland’s speed on offense.

ESPN Raiders beat reporter Paul Gutierrez breaks down Oakland’s struggles covering the screen pass defensively against Kansas City last week.

Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports has some interesting data on third-and-1 situations for NFL teams. Kirwan: “This year, NFL teams have successfully converted 70 percent when they run and 51 percent on passes. The Lions’ 85 percent run success rate stands out. Overall for the league since 2007, the success rate is very consistent with 70 percent on runs and 55 percent on passes.”