Chargers' Fonoti on the block

The San Diego Chargers have been talking about chemistry and character over the last several years. Now, it appears they are ready to take the next step in ensuring they have players who will commit themselves fully to the team cause.

A.J. Smith has certainly not been one to shy away from heat. He has often made the tough calls and has rarely made the wrong move. Which brings the talk to the status of Toniu Fonoti.

In a story first reported by the New York Post, the Chargers are trying to trade their offensive guard.

The trade overtures they have made to at least four teams started prior to his hand injury and continue now that he is on the shelf. The Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans are two teams that Smith has been in contact with, as well as other teams outside of the division. His reported asking price is a mid-round pick, considered to be in the third or fourth rounds.

Fonoti had a dominant year in 2004 but off the field concerns continue to hamper his standing with the team. While he has the bulk and ability, his emotional state outside of football is a growing concern.

He missed a day of minicamp this year after bypassing it entirely the year before and the erratic behavior is not something the team wants as it seeks to build the perfect team that shows it cares about one another and is accountable for its actions.

His blasé attitude earned him a benching in week two because of blown assignments with his then broken hand. Surgery ensued, but Fonoti, in his contract year, has been on the block since the start of the year.

The Bolts have been taking care of their own, locking up many pending unrestricted free agents. Fonoti would be in that category but the team is excited about the play of Kris Dielman and his work ethic. The further development of Scott Mruczkowski and impressions made by practice squad player Wes Sims make Fonoti expendable.

According to a source, "the team is looking for a mid to late round selection."

But Smith has taken many harder stances in the past and is always looking for maximum value in a deal. That could mean his asking price is a round above what others are thinking.

The trading deadline is October 19 and many expect a deal to be consummated by that time.

Meeting the demands of Smith, of course, makes any possibility of a deal a little tougher.


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