Let's start with a look back at the deadline deals swung by the Chargers over the last the last six seasons. This does not include the in-season trade in 2006 in which the Chargers sent a sixth-round pick to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for QB Billy Volek, as that deal came more than a month before the trade deadline.
2002: The Chargers acquired OG Kelvin Garmon from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2003 draft. Garmon started the final five games of the 2002 season and started every game for the Chargers in 2003.
QB Cleo Lemon
2005: The Chargers traded QB Cleo Lemon to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for QB A.J. Feely and a sixth-round pick in the 2006 draft. The Chargers used to pick to select kickoff specialist Kurt Smith, who did not make the team. Also in 2005, the Chargers traded OG Toniu Fonoti to the Minnesota Vikings for a seventh-round pick in 2006. The Bolts used the pick on OL Jimmy Martin, who did not make the team.
2007: The Chargers acquired WR Chris Chambers from the Miami Dolphins for a second-round pick in the 2008 draft. In 2007, Chambers caught at least two passes in every game with the Chargers. In 2008, Chambers leads the Chargers with five touchdowns.
Despite up-and-down play over the first six weeks, the Chargers have very few needs at the midpoint of the 2008 season. The reason for that is a philosophical change made by A.J. Smith. In years past, Smith would patch holes on the depth chart with young prospects, using the trade deadline to acquire that one veteran he felt could be the final piece of a championship puzzle.
TE Kris Wilson
The new trend started in September when Smith signed versatile H-back Kris Wilson and former Pro Bowl OG Kynan Forney. The new philosophy reared its head again in October when the Chargers signed veteran defensive lineman Ian Scott to beef up depth on the line. As a result, the Chargers are without any pressing needs as the trade deadline draws near.
Smith always plans at least three years into the future, which is another reason the Chargers are unlikely to make a move at the trade deadline. The Chargers are already without their second-round pick in next year's draft, having traded it to the New England Patriots to move up in this year and select RB Jacob Hester. The team cannot afford to trade away another pick, even though it expects compensatory selections for the free-agent losses of RB Michael Turner and CB Drayton Florence.
Because of Smith's wheeling and dealing, the Chargers executed only six draft picks in 2007 and just five picks in 2008. For a team like the Chargers that builds through the draft, the thought of a third consecutive truncated draft class is enough to scare Smith away from another deadline deal.
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.