Dielman won't be back in San Diego

For all the heavy praise placed on offensive guard Kris Dielman by general manager A.j. Smith, it will amount to nothing when he signs with another team on Friday.

Considered the hottest offensive guard on the board, Smith called signing Kris Dielman a "top priotity" but when the stakes are raised, the Chargers bow out.

That is the way this will shape up as free agency opens at 9:01 PM PST.

"We don't know the end result yet," Smith said. "The agent has a dollar sign that he has out there that is extremely high. It will only be a reality when he actually has those numbers in front of him after the market opens. We have been negotiating. We have a figure out there. We didn't really get anywhere because the figures we're putting out there are against ourselves. Until there's a concrete figure from another team, then it becomes factual."

The reality is when the floodgates open on free agency, the Chargers won't be in the bidding at all.

As an unrestricted free agent, the former undrafted free agent defensive lineman is expected to command big dollars. When he made the transition to the offensive line, he was a project and nothing more. He worked hard to mold his game into one of the best in the league and many felt he was snubbed from the Pro Bowl this past year.

His spiritied play and aggressive attitude became the catalyst for a strong running game and the Bolts ran left more than any other place along the line - often with Dielman leading the way.

So, while the Chargers point to Dielman as a priority, replacing him may be the real challenge.

When free agency opens, two teams will be on Dielman - and that does not include the Miami Dolphins - a team that does not want to enter this bidding war, according to a source close to both sides. The New York Jets, another rumored destination, will also not enter the foray.

The Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, and Cleveland Browns are expected to go strong after Dielman and it is likely that one of them steals him away from San Diego.

It is the hard line stance of Smith that makes signing Dielman impossible. This is one time that his unwillingness to budge attitude hurts the team profoundly. There is no replacing Dielman and without a last ditch effort - unlikely - he will be signed by Friday night and at his introductory press conference shortly thereafter.


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