SDUT: Boosted cap should pad club's depth


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Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

By Kevin Acee

December 9, 2005

Teams learned this week at an NFL management meeting that the projected salary cap will be between $92 million and $95 million for 2006.

That makes the outlook even better for the Chargers, who figure to be more than $20 million under the cap. This year's cap was $85.5 million.

"We're prepared for our football team to do certain things," General Manager A.J. Smith acknowledged yesterday, while declining to speak to specifics. "You need money as well as an evaluation of talent. We're in good shape there for some activity plus some money to take care of our own people."

In addition to possibly trying to bolster their secondary in the offseason and perhaps looking to the future on the offensive line and at receiver via free agency, ongoing talks with a few of their current players regarding extensions will likely intensify after this season.

The most pressing issue early in the offseason will be what to do with quarterbacks Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. The Chargers' prodigious salary cap room gives the team the freedom to keep both.

Idle but ready
LaDainian Tomlinson rode a bike and watched, away from the action for a second straight day as his teammates practiced.

But there remains zero chance his bruised ribs will keep him from playing Sunday.

"It's better, definitely better," said Tomlinson, who also was able to run yesterday. "I just don't want to take a chance (someone will hit the ribs)."

Tomlinson said he will practice today. Friday practices are virtually contact-free.
No love
Coaches and players will have to be the ones to vote Jamal Williams into his first Pro Bowl.

Williams is widely considered one of the top defensive tackles in the league. No less than Redskins coach Joe Gibbs called him "one of the best defensive linemen I have seen" the day after the Chargers played in Washington.

And he is generally regarded by his defensive teammates as the key to the Chargers' defense for occupying two and even three blockers almost every play.

But in fan balloting for the Pro Bowl, which closes Tuesday and will count for one-third of the total vote along with coaches and players, Williams is 12th among AFC interior linemen. Just three interior linemen will go to Hawaii for the Feb. 12 game.

"If he doesn't get that," said Chargers defensive end Jacques Cesaire, "that would be jacked up."
Injury fodder
Roman Oben will miss a fifth straight game with his foot injury. He has improved and is able to participate in some drills, but he continues to limp on and off the field.

Further proof the Chargers do not take the injury report seriously came when linebacker Shawne Merriman was listed as questionable. All that happened is Merriman missed practice to have the surgical pins in his wrist removed. He will play Sunday, a fact no one disputes.

Also, cornerback Sammy Davis missed practice with a sore calf. He should be available Sunday.