Telesco Set for Second Run at FA

Tom Telesco has been aggressive in handling in-house business, re-signing Donald Butler, Chad Rinehart and Darrell Stuckey to multi-year deals before the onset of free agency. With the market now open for business, he will look to stay aggressive while targeting middle-tier free agents willing to take "show me" deals.

Telesco is off to a terrific start in his second season at the helm, keeping his top three pending unrestricted free agents from ever hitting the open market. This week's deals with Darrell Stuckey and Chad Rinehart were particularly shrewd, coming within two days of each other and shortly before the market officially opened.

Donald Butler, Rinehart and Stuckey were considered the team's only priority free agents.

While the three re-signings secured important positions, they also put the Chargers in a bit of a bind: the team must fill a few more holes in free agency on a suddenly tight budget. San Diego still needs help at cornerback, outside linebacker, nose tackle and receiver. There may also be needs at center and quarterback depending on what happens with Rich Ohrnberger and Charlie Whitehurst, respectively.

Some of those needs will have to wait till the NFL Draft. Telesco is certainly comfortable going that route; in last year's draft, he came away with three impact starters (D.J. Fluker, Manti Te'o and Keenan Allen). But there are too many holes to be filled via the draft alone, so Telesco will have to acquire some affordable veterans.

Telesco bought himself a little slack by restructuring the contract of Jarret Johnson, a hugely important transaction in that it saves money and helps protect the outside linebacker position, which is already short on talent.

The position in most need of veteran help is cornerback, especially if Richard Marshall is allowed to leave, as expected. Players to watch include Vontae Davis, Corey Graham, Mike Jenkins, Zack Bowman, Drayton Florence, Aaron Ross and R.J. Stanford.

The Chargers will also be on the lookout for pass-rush help and options there include Calvin Pace, Parys Haralson and Lawrence Sidbury. Other free agents on Telesco's radar include NT Earl Mitchell, WR Andre Caldwell, OG Travelle Wharton and KR Josh Cribbs.

If that seems like a lot of names to sort through, it is. Telesco will let the first wave of free agency pass by and then sift through the names that remain. If he can land two or three of the aforementioned players and sign them to affordable contracts, the free-agent season will be a win for the Chargers.

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Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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