Adam Caplan: Because they finished as one of the final eight teams, the Chargers will be somewhat restricted in what they can do in free agency. They can re-sign their own players, sign restricted free agents from other teams, and sign one unrestricted free agent from another team for every unrestricted player they lose. They can sign one UFA with a first-year salary of $5.5 million or more. Then they can sign more free agents with a first-year salary of up to $3.275 million, but the future salaries are subject to the 30 percent rule (30 percent base salary increases each year).
ML: San Diego has several marquee players slated for restricted free agency: WR Vincent Jackson, LB Shawne Merriman, RB Darren Sproles, WR Malcom Floyd, RT Jeromey Clary, etc. What type of tenders are these players likely to receive? Which of these players is most likely to get pried away?
AC: Jackson should receive a first- and third-round tender. Merriman is a tough call based on Larry English's presence. Would think they might tender him as high as a first, but would be open to trading him. Sproles may not get tendered at all because of the 10 percent increase he would have to get over last year's "franchise" salary of $6.21 million. Floyd should yield a first. Clary probably first or second.
If Floyd surprisingly only gets a second-round tender, he could almost certainly receive a ton of interested based on his size and skill-set.
ML: There has been a lot of talk about the Chargers trading Antonio Cromartie. Who are some of the teams that may be interested in him? What could the Chargers realistically expect in return?
CB Antonio Cromartie
"Antonio Cromartie is a super body athlete, who lacks technique, effort, and fundamentals," NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell told Scout.com.
Cosell, who evaluates coaching tape for the NFL Matchup Show on ESPN, never bought into Cromartie's hype after his breakout season in 2007.
"Cromartie built his reputation on his one big game against Peyton Manning with those three interceptions," Cosell said. "Honestly, he's just an average to below average player."
It's reasonable to think that the Chargers could get as high as a conditional future third-round pick based on his playing time this season, but opposing teams know that Cromartie's play has really waned in recent seasons.
It's hard to pinpoint any team that would be interested in him at this point, but some of the teams that are likely to be in the market for a cornerback include the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.
ML: Rumor has it San Diego is looking to trade for a veteran running back, with names such as Michael Bush and Tashard Choice being thrown around. Who are some of the other veteran runners who might be available, and what will it take to land one of them?
AC: On a short-term basis, the Chargers could sign veteran RB Chester Taylor. He's been durable in recent seasons and could be a starter for one or two years if need be. He's a solid inside power runner. He also pass protects well.
The Carolina Panthers have to make a decision on DeAngelo Williams' future since his contract is up after 2010. They spent a first-round pick on RB Jonathan Stewart in 2008, so it's hard to see how they can justify paying both players for many years to come. So Williams could become available. It would probably cost a first-round pick and possibly more to secure Williams.
RBs Marshawn Lynch and Laurence Maroney, who have been somewhat disappointing the past few seasons, could also be had, but for less compensation.
ML: Are there any unrestricted free agents out there who could fortify San Diego's defensive line? Who would fit best in a three-man front?
AC: DE Jarvis Green. He's played mostly in the 3-4 with the New England Patriots. He's a decent pass rusher, plays the run fairly well. That's about it for defensive ends that are scheduled to be UFAs.
ML: Veterans such as Joey Porter and Karlos Dansby have expressed an interest in playing for the Chargers. If not one of those two, who is one big-name free agent that has a legitimate chance of landing in San Diego?
AC: With the likelihood that Larry English will replace Merriman, they don't have to spend a lot of money on another outside linebacker. Dansby, however, played inside over the past few seasons in Arizona's 3-4 scheme. The Chargers sort of had a revolving door at the one inside position next to Stephen Cooper, so Dansby could be viewed as an upgrade. However, they generally have stayed clear of spending big money on free agents during general manager A.J. Smith's tenure. They believe more in building the team through the draft.
Porter likely wouldn't cost much based on his age. He would provide good depth and a role as a situational pass rusher.
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Adam Caplan is Scout.com's national NFL reporter. He is also a host/analyst on Sirius NFL Radio. Caplan specializes in free agency, player signings and the draft. You can read more of his articles on the Scout.com NFL Experts site.