Kaeding a free agent after being released from IR

Associated Press Modified: October 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm •  Published: October 30, 2012
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SAN DIEGO (AP) — That big Philip Rivers-for-Eli Manning trade the San Diego Chargers pulled off on draft day 2004 is now essentially a one-for-one deal.

Kicker Nate Kaeding, obtained with one of the three draft picks the Chargers got that day along with Rivers, was released from injured reserve Tuesday and became a free agent.

He'll collect $1.1 million in termination pay.

The two other players the Chargers obtained with picks from the Rivers-Manning trade, outside linebacker Shawne Merriman and left tackle Roman Oben, are long gone.

"You get drafted, but you're not going to last somewhere forever," Kaeding said. "I think they got some decent mileage out of those draft picks."

While Rivers remains in San Diego, the Bolts haven't come close to getting what the Giants got with Manning — two Super Bowl titles.

Kaeding was taken with a third-round pick in 2004, Merriman with a first-round pick in 2005 and Oben was acquired from Tampa Bay on June 9, 2004, in exchange for the 2005 fifth-round pick the Chargers got from the Giants.

The Chargers took Manning with the first overall pick in 2004 and then made the deal with New York less than an hour later. Three days earlier, agent Tom Condon called the Chargers to say that Archie Manning wished that the Chargers would not use the No. 1 pick on his son.

Kaeding is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, having made 180 of 207 field goal attempts in the regular season, or 87 percent.

However, he'll be mostly remembered for the ones he didn't make in the playoffs.

He missed three field goals in a 17-14 home playoff loss to the New York Jets in January 2010, San Diego's last postseason appearance. As a rookie, he was wide right on a 40-yard attempt on a wet field in overtime that would have beaten the Jets in a playoff game following the 2004 season. The Jets moved down the field and won it 20-17 on Doug Brien's 27-yarder.

Kaeding was just 8 of 15 (53.3 percent) in eight playoff games.

The furthest the Chargers have gotten in the playoffs since the Rivers-Manning trade was the AFC championship game in January 2008. They lost to the then-perfect Patriots, who in turn lost to Manning's Giants in the Super Bowl.

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