San Diego Chargers sign OT Joe Barksdale

Barksdale was shockingly still available this late in free agency. Barksdale was a 3rd round pick of the Raiders in 2011, but he barely played in his first 2 seasons in the league, playing 282 snaps in 2011-2012 combined. He became a starter in 2013 with the Rams, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 25th ranked offensive tackle in 13 starts. He couldn’t quite match that in 2014, grading out slightly below average in 16 starts, but I still expected him to get signed to a multi-year deal for starter’s money early in free agency. However, Barksdale drew little attention early in free agency and then the Rams drafted Rob Havenstein in the 2nd round to replace him.

As a result, he ends up in San Diego, where I never expected he’d end up, especially this late in free agency. Right tackle wasn’t a huge need for the Chargers as they like 2013 11th overall pick DJ Fluker, but Barksdale still helps their team at a cheap price, 1.35 million over a year. Barksdale slots in at right tackle and moves Fluker inside to right guard, where his issues with pass protection will be masked better, and moves Justin Britt from right guard to center, getting Trevor Robinson out of the starting lineup. The Chargers are actually upgrading 3 spots on the offensive line a little for 1.35 million. This was a savvy move by savvy GM Tom Telesco.

Grade: A

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