AFC West Report: Brees to Jettison Chargers?

With the deadline passed on Thursday NFL teams had to label their franchise players, it looks like the Chargers will not slap Drew Brees with the franchise tag for the second consecutive year. The move will allow Brees to test the free agent waters and the chances he will be back in San Diego are waning by the day.

After having a quarterback controversy for nearly two years, the San Diego Chargers and General Manager A. J. Smith look to finally rectify the problem this week not making Drew Brees the franchise or transitional player. The move takes the team one step closer to settling the quarterback dilemma between Brees and Phillip Rivers, the Chargers first round draft pick two years ago.

If the Chargers were to make Brees their franchise player they would have play him just about $10 million dollars over the single season next year. After tearing his labrum in his throwing shoulder during a meaningless game to conclude the season against the Broncos, the Chargers are not willing to pay that amount.

The Chargers had a long term offer on the table for Brees and his agent Tom Condon but the two turned down the offer and both sides are not currently negotiating. Smith says that the team has put a value on Brees and they will not exceed that amount. Obviously, Brees and Condon feel like they are worth more than the Chargers estimated value of the five-year quarterback out of Purdue.

Brees had surgery last month to repair his shoulder. The injury was so bad Brees will not be able to throw a football until May. He is not expected to be up to full strength until July when teams open up training camp. For the Chargers the injury is just too much of a risk to do the wait and see approach five months from now.

On March 3rd Brees will be free to negotiate with any team. This opens the door for Phillip Rivers for the first time since he was drafted. Rivers has been eager to play since he was drafted, and was slated to play until Brees won comeback player of the year in 2004 that inevitably left Rivers on the bench.

The Chargers unwillingness to lock in Brees for a long-term lucrative deal is not good news for the quarterback. The market could potentially be flooded with quarterbacks like Duante Culpepper, Chad Pennington, Steve McNair, Josh McCowan and Brian Griese.

The Oakland Raiders and Art Shell are raising their critics' eyebrows about Shell mentioning that the Raiders are interested in retaining Kerry Collins. It would cost the Raiders $2.5 million dollars next month if they want to even renegotiate with Collins.

If you beleive the rumors, Shell was at least the third choice by Raiders owner Al Davis to take the head-coaching job when he was hired earlier this year. However, we believe that as many as seven candidates turned down the Silver and Black job. Regardless, many of the Raiders faithful just assume cut their ties with Collins after the team clearly under-achieved last season.

The move makes no sense to keep Collins around. With the before mentioned flooded market of quarterbacks, and with Andrew Walter entering his second year the Raiders have many options beyond Collins. If Collins were to stay the Raiders and the media may run out Shell faster than they did Norv Turner after his two years at the helm.

Also on Thursday the Raiders gave cornerback Charles Woodson his walking papers when they declined to make him their 2006 franchise player. Woodson is reportedly on the wish list of division rival Kansas City. The feeling appears to me mutual as Woodson would like to play for new Chiefs Head Coach Herman Edwards.

The Denver Broncos may be digging up other teams scrap heaps once again. Rumors have both Terrell Owens possibly being a Bronco next year as well as Ricky Williams.

Of course securing Williams will depend on the result of his appeal for his fourth violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Williams did not test positive for marijuana but could have had his sample tainted with excess water to try to mask any drugs in a urine sample.

Owens has been quiet and the talk to sign him may not heat up until March 3rd. Don't expect the Broncos to try to acquire both players. No NFL locker room can handle that amount of drama and the veteran players on the roster are not to thrilled with the possibility that either player will be joining their roster in 2006. Top Stories