Is WR Malcom Floyd a Priority Re-Sign?

The Chargers have several significant players set for free agency (whenever that begins), but no case is more interesting than that of Malcom Floyd. Going into his eighth year in the league, Floyd can be seen as a well-groomed playmaker or the product of a dynamic offensive system.

The case for re-signing Malcom Floyd begins with Philip Rivers. The Chargers are built around Rivers and will only go as far as his arm will take them. Rivers' arm has done a lot of spectacular things since arriving in San Diego and Floyd has been the beneficiary more times than anyone else.

Rivers and Floyd entered the league together in 2004, Rivers as the No. 4 overall pick and Floyd as an undrafted free agent. They spent their rookie seasons together on the scout team and worked their way up the depth chart in an almost parallel manner.

After seven years of playing pitch and catch, the chemistry Floyd shares with Rivers is exceptional.

WR Malcom Floyd
Stephen Dunn/Getty
However, there are reasons Floyd has never finished better than third on the team in catches. He is not a consistently dominant playmaker like Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates. He struggles to hold onto the ball while being hit; he disappears for long stretches; and he cannot stay healthy, having played in all 16 games just once in his career.

Also hurting Floyd's case is what happened last season when San Diego's receiving corps was riddled by injuries. Rivers was forced to throw to a makeshift group comprised heavily of undrafted rookies and street free agents, yet somehow he still compiled over 4,700 yards, 30 touchdowns and a 101.8 passer rating.

If Rivers can put up those kind of numbers regardless of who is running routes, why should the Chargers invest heavily in a No. 2 receiver?

If Floyd leaves, there could be significant turnover beneath Vincent Jackson's perch atop the depth chart. Legedu Naanee is also a free agent and not expected to return. Buster Davis still has another year on his deal but is a candidate to be released because of his inability to stay on the field. Veteran Kelley Washington, a midseason pickup who played well in spurts, is also a free agent.

Re-signing Floyd gives San Diego a top-three of he, Jackson and Patrick Crayton. If the team can bring back Washington and continue to develop Seyi Ajirotutu, it would make for an explosive unit. However, because of the reasons discussed above, the Chargers will not overpay for such a luxury.

Look for San Diego to offer Floyd a contract comparable to the one Gates signed prior to last season (five years, $36 million). Gates is a much better player than Floyd but receivers typically earn more on the open market. If you subtract about $1 million per season from the Gates offer -- making it a $31 million deal – you are probably looking at San Diego's limit when it comes to Floyd's new pact.

If Floyd can earn more elsewhere -- and he probably can, especially in Oakland -- and is willing to end his career-long marriage with Rivers, then the Chargers will let him leave and collect the compensatory pick just over a year from now.

Michael Lombardo is a member of Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His work has been published by NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports.

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