2. OG Mike Goff is in the final season of his contract and will not return next season. Scott Mruczkowski, thought by many to be the heir apparent at right guard, struggled badly in his first start of the season against Atlanta. Another option, veteran Kynan Forney, has been unable to play his way off the inactive list and will likely follow Goff out the door. This is another position that should be addressed in free agency.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson
4. Another free agent not expected to return is DE Igor Olshansky. This could lead to a shakeup on the defensive line, as the Bolts are also in the market for a legitimate backup to Jamal Williams. One option will be moving Jacques Cesaire into Olshansky's vacated spot and acquiring a versatile backup who can provide snaps at defensive end and nose tackle.
5. The Chargers must decide what to do with Shawne Merriman, who enters the final year of his contract in 2009 and is unlikely to remain a Charger beyond that season. A.J. Smith will likely feel out the market for Merriman before making a final decision. It would be unfortunate to treat Merriman like a one-year rental and risk losing him for only a compensatory draft pick; however, given San Diego's struggles to rush the passer, the Chargers may have no choice but to bring him back.
DC Ron Rivera
7. Speaking of San Diego's safeties, it looks like the Bolts will be in the market for a veteran safety yet again. A.J. Smith has signed three veteran safeties as free agents since taking over as general manager: Kwame Lassiter (2003), Bhawoh Jue (2005) and Marlon McCree (2006). Hopefully the fourth time's a charm, as the Chargers have whiffed time and time again as the curse of Rodney Harrison continues.
8. Elsewhere in the secondary, Antonio Cromartie is another candidate to be moved if the Bolts can find a trading partner willing to pay 2007 prices for 2008's product. If Cromartie does find a new home, the Chargers may not have to do much to replace him. Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are certainly a quality starting tandem, while Cletis Gordon, Paul Oliver and DeJuan Tribble would provide depth.
9. There are a few noteworthy players that are candidates to be released with several years left on their contracts. ILB Matt Wilhelm (2011) and SS Clinton Hart (2012) head up that ill-fated list.
10. Just because the Chargers floundered all season long doesn't mean there won't be any in-house awards dished out. QB Philip Rivers and WR Vincent Jackson are in the front of the line for contract extensions.
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.