The Chargers personnel department is hard at work preparing for next week’s combine, but that’s not the only thing on their plate.
Free agency is coming down the track shortly behind the combine and San Diego is also working on matters on that front. One of those matters is negotiation on a new deal with linebacker Donald Butler, who is set to become a free agent on March 11.
Butler had a very strong 2013 season and played well in each of the team’s playoff games as well, which made him and safety Eric Weddle the anchors of the San Diego defense. Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports that Butler and the Chargers have resumed talks after breaking them off before the start of the 2013 season.
Butler was included on our list of potential franchise tag recipients, but Williams suggests that the team isn’t likely to use the franchise tag to keep him in San Diego because of how it would impact the Chargers elsewhere in free agency. Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco didn’t address that topic, but he did say that the team prioritized keeping their own players over diving into free agency to sign players from other teams.
“Ideally, the guys that you draft and developed for two, three or four years, you’d like to keep your core together,” Telesco said. “You’ve invested in them, and you kind of already know what you have. With the college draft, there’s a bigger pool of players to work through. And you can decide who fits you and who doesn’t. In free agency, you can have a position of need, and there’s only three or four guys available. And maybe none of them fit. In college with the draft, there’s a lot more.”
The Chargers drafted Butler before Telesco came to town, of course, but it looks like the same philosophy applies.