Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith has a way of dealing with potentially unhappy players; he likes to turn their words (or their agents’ words) against them.
For example, former San Diego tailback LaDainian Tomlinson posted on his personal website two years ago a message regarding his desire to stay with the team. Smith later mocked the statement by offering nearly identical comments regarding his own desire to remain employed by the organization.
In 2011, L.T. is long gone and safety Eric Weddle could soon be leaving, too, as a free agent. Agent David Canter recently said that he’s “absolutely baffled” by the team’s failure to engage in talks on a long-term deal.
“All I can say is I’m baffled [that] he’s baffled regarding our position at this point in time,” Smith said, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Smith also addressed the team’s position on Weddle, a four-year veteran who technically is a restricted free agent but who will become unrestricted if the threshold drops from six in the next labor deal.
“First, we don’t know Eric’s status yet,” Smith said. “Second, if he should become [an unrestricted] free agent, I would hope by now everyone understands how we operate around here.”
He’s referring, Acee believes, to the notion that the Chargers keep who they want to keep, and they let walk those whom they don’t want to keep.
It sounds like they want to keep Weddle. On their terms.
“Eric is a great kid and an outstanding player,” Smith said. “He is exactly the type of player we want to be a part of the Chargers organization. If we should offer a contract, we would present a contract to his agent, David Canter, both in years and money. Our hope then would obviously be he likes it and accepts. If not, as Eric said, he will be moving on in a heartbeat, as will we.”
Smith also explained that the team has had conversations with Canter regarding Weddle. But it sounds like the conversations have consisted of something like this: “Once we know whether he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, we’ll make an offer. And he can take it and stay. Or he can leave it and leave.”