Free agent right tackle Joe Barksdale didn’t have to wait long to find out if he would once again put on the uniform he wore last season.
In fact, he didn’t even hit free agency, which opens Wednesday.
Barksdale was signed to a four-year deal with the Chargers today worth $22.2 million ($10.5 million guaranteed), according to reports.
The Chargers' only offensive lineman to start every game last year, Barksdale proved to be a valuable commodity in a season where injuries forced a carousel of players to move in and out of the rotation.
Barksdale, 28, signed a one-year deal for just over $1 million in May after spending three seasons with the Rams (and before that, two seasons with the Raiders). He proved to be a dependable addition for quarterback Philip Rivers, who saw him on the right side of the line for most of the season, but also on the left where Barksdale subbed because of injuries.
With Barksdale signed, the offensive line is mostly set and should have continuity. It's expected that DJ Fluker will maintain his place at right guard, and should improve at that position with a full season (and offseason) under his belt. Tackle King Dunlap and guard Orlando Franklin were signed to large contracts last offseason to shore up the left side. What is most mysterious is what will happen at the center position, and whether Chris Watt or Trevor Robinson will have a large presence in 2016.
Barksdale is one of fifteen Chargers who are free agents this season.