San Diego Chargers sign CB Brandon Flowers

The Chiefs cut Brandon Flowers earlier this month in order to save 7.5 million in cash, after he had a rough 2013 season in which he graded out 87th out of 110 eligible cornerbacks on Pro Football Focus. He was especially bad in coverage, grading out 96th in pure coverage grade, allowing 64 completions on 96 attempts (66.7%) for 846 yards (8.81 YPA), 4 touchdowns, and an interception, while deflecting 5 passes and committing 7 penalties. He was a really poor fit for new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s coverage scheme.

Still, he generated a lot of attention over the past couple of weeks on the open market and rightfully so. Flowers was once one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. He was a top-7 cornerback in the NFL on Pro Football Focus in every season from 2009-2012, maxing out at #2 in 2010. No other cornerback was also in the top-7 in each of those 4 seasons. For some reason, he never made the Pro-Bowl until last season, when he was terrible. Only going into his age 28 season, Flowers could easily recapture his old form in a new system.

The Chargers landed him with this deal, which is worth up to 5 million over 1 season with 3 million guaranteed. That’s a lot of money for someone this late in the off-season, but he deserves it and this deal will allow him to test the market next off-season, still only going into his age 29 season. If he has a bounce back year, he could land a very lucrative multi-year deal. For the Chargers, this is a fantastic move for arguably the most cornerback needy team in the NFL.

The Chargers had probably the league’s worst cornerbacks last season, a huge part of the reason why their defense was so awful last season, allowing opponents to move the chains at a 75.36% rate, 28th in the NFL. Shareece Wright, Richard Marshall, Derek Cox, and Johnny Patrick were their top-4 cornerbacks last season. They ranked 102th, 101st, 104th, and 94th respectively out of 110 eligible cornerbacks on Pro Football Focus. Now the Chargers have added Jason Verrett in the first round of the draft and Brandon Flowers through free agency. If Flowers has a vintage year, the Chargers could have a halfway decent defense and could push to make the playoffs again, even if their offense isn’t as dominant again, despite a tougher schedule.

Grade: A




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