When playing the game of football, the offensive line is key to solidifying the contest. This under-appreciated unit is directly responsible for the flow and momentum of the game. If your offensive line is unable to contain during pass blocking or open holes during run blocking, then it will be a long game and an even longer season.
The San Diego Chargers had a very disappointing 4-12 record in 2015 as the team was gripped with tons of uncertainty. A lot of the uncertainty swirled around the offensive line and the injuries that decimated the unit. Coming into the season the offensive line was supposed to a strength for the team, but how quickly that changed.
King Dunlap, D.J. Fluker and Orlando Franklin all spent time on the shelf with injuries and in reality none of the trio was healthy at any point last season. Chris Watt was to be the teams starting center, but he was shut down for the year in early November with a shoulder injury. The Chargers need to rework this unit and a perfect answer would be to start at the very middle of the line.
Chris Watt was serviceable at center but his future in the league might be as a guard rather than a center. With that being said the Chargers could address their need at center with a very big name. Alex Mack the pro-bowl center for the Cleveland Browns is preparing to opt out of his contract this month and could be an interesting option for the Bolts moving forward.
In 2013 the then general manager of the Browns Ray Farmer negotiated Mack’s contract extension and allowed the center to have an opt out clause. That proved to be a bad idea, as the center is fully prepared to walk away from the three years remaining on the contract. He will surely make more on the open market than the eight million a year (for three years) he is guaranteed on his current contract.
That is a lot of money for a center. So should the Chargers go after Mack and make him a key off-season addition? They have a ton of money invested in Franklin, Dunlap and Fluker but you need a great offensive line to keep Philip Rivers upright and protected. Mack would be a great addition and he and Rivers could form some unbelievable chemistry. Rivers needs a stable presence as his center.
The Chargers need a shot in the arm as their window of opportunity is closing with veteran Philip Rivers at the helm. He is not getting any younger and its obvious the team prepares itself to win sooner rather than later. Factor in the vote in November for the future of this franchise and you can be certain the team is prepared to make a run at a title in 2016. Mack could be a great stride forward into attaining that goal.
He is known as a “smart” center and has been extremely durable in his seven-year career. He has only missed 11 games in his career. All of them in 2014 when he suffered a broken leg, but came back last year to start every game and earn his third pro-bowl appearance for the Browns. He is 30 and still very dominant at the position.
The 6 foot 4 inch Mack states that winning is very important to him. He wants to play for a winning team and the University of California graduate might be able to find that with the Chargers. Will Tom Telesco and the Chargers front office make him a priority? Stay tuned. We shall see.