Telesco: Bolts won't make splash in free agency

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm •  Published: March 8, 2013
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SAN DIEGO (AP) — The new regime running the San Diego Chargers doesn't plan to dive head-first into free agency.

More like feet-first, somewhat slowly.

While there's plenty of work to do after the Chargers missed the playoffs for the third straight season, new general manager Tom Telesco doesn't plan to spend wildly and take chances in the NFL's version of a public bazaar.

Telesco comes in with a draft-driven philosophy he learned under former Colts GM Bill Polian, with free agency used to pluck players here and there.

"We're probably not going to be a major splash team in free agency," Telesco said Friday. "There's a time and place for it, but that time and place is not this year for us.

"You want to pay for future production," Telesco added. "I don't want to pay for past performance. A lot of times in free agency you end up having to pay for what he used to do. You've got to be careful. You want to make sure you're paying for his prime years. And if those prime years are already past, you've got to be careful."

A big turnover is expected on a team that went 7-9, costing coach Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith their jobs.

San Diego released strong safety Atari Bigby on Friday, a day after cutting linebacker Takeo Spikes. The moves cleared about $4.5 million in cap space, giving the team roughly $12 million in cap room heading into free agency, which starts Tuesday.

The release of Bigby started speculation that the Chargers could move Quentin Jammer from cornerback to safety. Telesco thinks Jammer would remain at cornerback, if he returns to the Chargers.

But Jammer, like many of the 19 Chargers set to become unrestricted free agents, is expected to test the market.

Also likely to see what deals they might reach elsewhere are cornerback Antoine Cason, outside linebacker Shaun Phillips and right guard Louis Vasquez.

The previous regime failed to lock up Vasquez last fall, a surprising move because Smith spoke often of re-signing the team's own free agents.

Smith also waded deep into free agency last year, and some of the additions didn't work out. Among them were wide receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal, envisioned as a 1-2 punch to replace Vincent Jackson, who was allowed to leave as a free agent. Smith did make the midseason acquisition of Danario Alexander, whose 37 catches were as many as Meachem and Royal had combined.

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