The NFL free agent signing period begins on March 12. The Chargers have a whole lot of tough decisions to make before then.
San Diego has 19 unrestricted free agents, 8 of them starters. New general manager Tom Telesco has to figure out who to keep, who to let walk, and who to bring in, and he doesn't have a whole lot of time to figure it out.
Each day we're going to take a look at one of the Bolts' main free agents to see if he will be around in 2013.
Let's start with the man who's recorded the 2nd-most sacks in Chargers history: OLB Shaun Phillips.
He's been the Bolts' most consistent pass rushing threat since Shawne Merriman got hurt in 2007. Phillips led the team with 9.5 sacks last year. He may still be catching up with quarterbacks, but the fear is time is catching up with him.
Phillips turns 32 in May. He played 852 snaps last year, that's a lot. Advanced football stats reveal Phillips only pressured opposing quarterbacks 39 times on more than 400 rush attempts. That means he was getting blocked at the line consistently.
Phillips just finished up a 6-year, $31 million contract. It's unlikely he'll get another deal of that length. It's also unlikely he'll want less than that $5 million a year average. It's extremely unlikely the Chargers will want to give him that much, especially with youngsters like Melvin Ingram waiting in the wings.
Phillips has been a tremendous player on the field, and a wonderful presence in the locker room. But, it appears his time in San Diego has come to an end.
The Chargers will likely look at free agents like Ravens LB Paul Kruger and Cowboys LB Anthony Spencer, both younger and, at this stage of their careers, more effective players than Phillips.