When the 2012 NFL free agency started March 13, many connections were hit – and miss. For the San Diego Chargers, it appeared that each bolt they cast upon a free agent of interest was a hit. In five short days, the Chargers were able to sign nine free agents. Saturday, the Chargers announced, via press release, that they re-signed tight end Randy McMichael to a two-year deal, becoming the ninth player the Bolts inked since Tuesday.
The 10-year veteran NFL spent the last two seasons with the Chargers and in 2011, McMichael played in all 16 games (14 starts). The 6-3, 248-pounder from Georgia caught 30 passes for 271 yards during his 2011 campaign, increasing his career totals to 417 catches for 4,488 yards and 24 touchdowns.
McMichael will continue to contribute on special teams for the Chargers, as he registered six tackles last season.
McMichael joins safety Atari Bigby, offensive tackle Jared Gaither, linebacker Jarrett Johnson, fullback Le’Ron McClain, wide receiver Robert Meachem, wide receiver/return specialist Eddie Royal, tight end Kory Sperry, and quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
Bigby, who signed a two-year deal worth $2.5 million, is a six-year veteran and played for the Seattle Seahawks last season.
Gaither joined the Chargers last season and made a great impact, which allowed him to re-sign to a four-year deal. Gaither will welcome two former teammates from the Baltimore Ravens (along with linebacker Antwan Barnes who also played in Charm City) in Johnson, who signed a four-year deal, and McClain, who signed a three-year deal.
One of the 2012 prize NFL free agents was wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who was a Charger. Jackson was never on the Chargers’ thunderbolt list as they did not offer the 29-year old wideout a contract, and was not willing to place the franchise tag on him (well, no one for that matter).
Jackson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a five-year deal worth $55.55 million.
The Chargers countered by signing Meachem to a four-year deal worth $25.9 million, guaranteeing $14 million.
Royal, who is one of the best return men in the NFL, signed a three-year deal and Sperry re-signed to a one-year deal.
Whitehurst returns after being traded to the Seahawks in 2010 for a second and third-round pick. The Wisconsin native played nine games for the Seahawks, completing 54.2 percent of his passes for 805 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Whitehurst was probably going to be the No. 3 signal caller for the Chargers behind quarterbacks Philip Rivers and Billy Volek, but Volek was released Friday hours after Whitehurst’s signing. Whitehurst was originally a third round selection of the Chargers in the 2006 NFL Draft and for his four seasons in San Diego, and never attempted a pass backing up Rivers and Volek.
Prior to the Chargers’ nine signing, the Bolts re-signed center Nick Hardwick and linebacker Demorrio Williams, before Tuesday.
Will the Chargers cast their bolts once again? Stay tuned.