Restricted Free Agent: Leonardo Carson

Defensive tackle Leonardo Carson is a restricted free agent giving the Chargers right of first refusal to keep him in Charger Blue. As a restricted free agent he is free to sign an offer sheet with any team, but the Chargers would have seven days to match any received offer. If the Chargers do not match the offer, compensation will be awarded in the form of draft picks from the signing team. The writers at Chargers Update weigh in with their thoughts.

Leonardo Carson had 3.5 sacks, 31 tackles, 3 passes defensed and one fumble recovery in limited action covering 13 games in 2002. It was an almost exact mirror of his 2001 season.

Tom Criswell's Take:

Leonardo Carson, is a must re-sign. Just like Adrian Dingle he is versatile. Carson has been a starter in both the last 2 seasons when Jamal Williams went down with injuries and has filled in very well, he is good against the run and has a quick first step that makes him that much more difficult against the pass, He was double teamed a lot that kept his production down with help on the other side, He also played end to spell Ray Lee Johnson and Marcellus Wiley to try and help keep them fresh.

The Chargers won't match an offer if he gets a better deal somewhere else, something where Carson can be a starter and any other team in the league could make a play for him. The Chargers lack depth on the defensive line and the first person they have turned to the last few years was Carson when they needed that help, they would be smart to make him one of their own free agent signings along with Dingle.

I give Carson a 90 percent chance of re-signing with the Chargers.

Dr. J's Take:

Carson has shown his value by stepping in for an injured Jamal Williams in two consecutive years. He could start for another team and flourish (can anyone say Norman Hand?) but with the injuries across the line, the Chargers need someone like Carson around. If Williams is slow to return from his injury, Carson could be the opening day starter.

75-85% chance of re-signing.

Denis Savage's Take:

We have the right to match so this could be a slow process but I also think he is needed on the defensive line. Free agency sets up our Draft and having Carson in there will definitely allow us to hold the cards come our 15th pick (as in our pick will remain a secret).

He is still young and has shown the ability to get some pressure on the QB. Let's face it three and a half sacks or more from a tackle who is a part-starter is pretty solid. Remember someone could swoop in and give him more money than we are willing to, but we will get compensated.

90% chance to return.

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