Veterans Feeling the Heat

Veterans had the night off on Tuesday. Coincidently it occurred the same day that Ryan McNeil was released. A source placed San Diego Chargers wide receiver Tim Dwight in a Sunset Blvd restaurant and he was not too happy with the release of McNeil and pondered his own future with the team.

Tim Dwight was "pissed" that Ryan McNeil was released on Tuesday and he was blunt when pushed further.

Dwight wondered if he and Cory Raymer were the next to go.

Dwight is in the midst of a 5 year $15 million dollar deal with a $5 million dollar signing bonus and his role on the team is seeing a power outage much like seen in New York today.

In 2002, Dwight was used as the number two receiver and midseason saw his role expand to punt returning duties.

Fast forward to training camp this season.

On Wednesday Dwight was not on the first team offense all day. In fact, Tim Baker and Terry Charles were used before Dwight saw action. David Boston, the team's number one receiver was not even in. Reche Caldwell and Eric Parker got the nod to start.

Thursday morning, Dwight was back on the first team offense, but Eric Parker was thrown into the mix returning punts with Brian Sump and Dwight. Thursday afternoon Dwight was rarely on the field in any role.

Are we reading too much into all this?

Possibly. Consider the candor with which Dwight spoke. He is questioning his term with the Chargers and sees it possibly ending abruptly in the near future.

What we know:

Dwight is unhappy.

AJ Smith has announced there will be "Big Cuts".

He thinks he may be among the next to get cut.

He may be supplanted as the number two receiver by Caldwell or Parker.

Other players are getting chances at punt returning.

What we don't know:

Is Dwight overreacting?

Is there no connection between others getting reps at punt returner?

Is there no correlation between Caldwell and Parker getting first team duty one day after Ryan McNeil gets cut?

Dissecting this could be hazardous to fans health.

Dwight is one of the most popular players on the San Diego Chargers. It would be a public relations nightmare if he was released. He brings solid veteran leadership to a team that gets younger with each blink of an eye. His shaven head is one of the most recognizable aspects of this Chargers team that is still searching for an identity.

The fact remains, Dwight will make what amounts to $3 million this season. Is it worth it to keep him and his guaranteed salary for this season?

A number three receiver is not worth the kind of money Dwight is making and a number four, well, no one needs to tell you the answer to that. The problem is the cap hit will be accelerated. That signing bonus which is spread over the life of the contract would be seen in this year and next year's numbers.

Put Dwight in as the punt returner, where he averaged 12.2 yards per return, and as the number two receiver, where he caught 50 passes and it may be wise to keep him around.

Isn't Dwight a part of the youth movement at 28, or is he a veteran who is over the hill and has no upside?

We know Dwight is scared of his future and he may be feeling the heat. Is Dwight the "Big Cut" AJ Smith talked about? Dwight seems to think it is a possibility.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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