Free Agent Farewell

Saturday's game against the Broncos will be the Chargers' final contest of the season. But for the Charger players who are set to become free agents, the games are only about to begin. Some will merit extensions, while others will be allowed to walk. The only thing that's certain is that the upcoming Broncos game will be a curtain-call performance for a few Charger players.

The biggest name on the free agent list is Drew Brees, although he figures to be back next season, whether that be on a long-term deal or as the result of another franchise tag. After last year's Pro Bowl season, Brees followed up by setting a career high with over 3,500 yards passing. He's also thrown nine more touchdowns than interceptions, and has completed nearly 65 percent of his passes. Throw in his contributions in the community and his status as a team leader, and Brees will almost certainly be back.

The second most prominent soon-to-be free agent is Reche Caldwell, who has also had a solid showing this season, despite fumbling in consecutive contests. Given his career-high 26 receptions, it would seem he has played well enough to merit an extension and a spot as the team's third or fourth receiver; but the development of rookie Vincent Jackson may allow the team to let Caldwell leave. If that's the case, Saturday will be the final chance for Charger fans to see the former Florida Gator perform for their team.

There are other vital players at less glamorous positions who are all set for unrestricted free agency as well. Justin Peelle's contributions as a run blocker and pass protector have been invaluable, and he has shown good hands when the ball is thrown his way as well. DeQuincy Scott is tied for third on the team with 4.5 sacks, and plays an active role in the team's nickel defenses. Both players will use Saturday's game against the Broncos to remind Charger officials just how essential their contributions really are.

Other Charger free agents may end up leaving without even a farewell performance, as they are currently on injured reserve. Ben Leber is likely gone, although he could re-sign and move to an inside position. If Leber departs, Carlos Polk may get that inside opportunity instead. Although injury prone, Polk is an intense competitor and a special teams terror when healthy. Either player could return, but there is a good chance that when this season ends, so too will their Charger tenures.

So although the Chargers won't be fighting for a playoff spot, there is still plenty to see in Saturday's game against the Broncos. Some players will be fighting to come back, and others will be preparing to walk away. But when the game is over, everyone will have an eye on next season, whether it be with the Chargers, or against them.


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