If I were a carpenter…

The Chargers are openly and aggressively shopping Eric Parker, but have found no takers as of yet. The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves in the same situation with backup running back Najeh Davenport and were forced to release him earlier this week. How can the Bolts avoid the same outcome? Team expert Michael Lombardo explores.

As first reported by the San Diego Union Tribune on June 21, the Chargers are looking to trade Eric Parker for a pick in the final three rounds of the 2009 draft. The Cleveland Browns are reportedly interested, as former Chargers tight ends coach Rod Chudzinski is now the offensive coordinator in Cleveland. The Baltimore Ravens, who hired former Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron earlier this off-season, could also be in the mix.

However, because of Parker's injury history and prohibitive salary, the Chargers have failed to entice any teams into pulling the trigger (click here to hear Scout.com Senior NFL Reporter Adam Caplan explain why the Bolts are struggling to move Parker in this podcast by The Orange and Brown Report).

So what can the Chargers do to make sure they don't have to lose Parker without any compensation? Rather than seeking a second-day pick in 2009, the team should settle for a compensatory pick in 2010.

WR Eric Parker
Greg Trott/Getty

Taking a 2010 draft pick nets a couple of substantial benefits: 1) it bolsters the odds that the Chargers get some value in return for the seven-year veteran; and 2) it expedites the trading process and ensures that Parker is gone by training camp, which will allow San Diego's young receivers to get the reps they need to continue their development.

It may seen like landing a late-round pick two years from now is of little consequence, but history tells a different story.

In 2002, the Chargers traded wide receiver Trevor Gaylor for a seventh-round pick in the 2004 draft. That pick was used to select Shane Olivea, who went on to start 57 games in his four years in San Diego. If the Chargers can get similar value for Parker, they should jump at the opportunity.

It behooves all parties involved to resolve Parker's situation quickly. Parker is one of the hardest working and classiest players in San Diego's locker room and deserves better than to be left flapping in the wind as trade bait.

The Chargers should steal an idea from the best-run front office in professional sports, the San Antonio Spurs. ESPN.com's Chad Ford reported prior to the NBA draft that the Spurs sent an email to every team in the NBA, letting them know the No. 26 overall pick was available in a trade.

The Chargers should send an email to every team in the NFL, letting them know that Parker is available for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2010- a pick that would become a sixth-rounder if he plays in all 16 games. That is the best way to give Parker a chance to compete for significant playing time, and to give the Chargers a chance to get a valuable asset in return.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

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