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Chargers Free Agent Update

Bolts Make Three Moves On Saturday



    Chargers Make Unexpected Kicking Change
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    PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 9: Danario Alexander #84 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after catching a 15 yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 9, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Chargers defeated the Steelers 34-24. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

    The Chargers made three decisions on Saturday. Two are solid. One is dangerous.

    The Bolts started by agreeing to a 4-year contract with long snapper Mike Windt. San Diego had David Binn to rely on for 16 years, but after he got hurt in the 201 season opener, the Bolts went through four long-snappers in five games before settling on Windt, who solved a glaring special teams problem and has quietly become one of the best in the league at his position.

    Windt broke his wrist in November against the Broncos but will be fully healed in plenty of time for training camp.

    Not long after that, the Chargers agreed to a 4-year, $6.6 million deal with kicker Nick Novak. Novak, a San Diego native, came in when Nate Kaeding injured his groin in September. He converted 18 of 20 field goal attempts, the only misses coming from beyond 50 yards.

    He's also gotten much better kicking the ball off. Novak's touchback percentage has increased each of the last two years.

    Both of those moves certainly help the Chargers going forward. The third development, however, is curious.

    The Chargers placed a "low tender" on WR Danario Alexander. In a nutshell, as a restricted free agent, Alexander is free to seek a contract with any other team. If a deal is reached, the Bolts have the right to match that deal. If they choose not to, Alexander walks and the Chargers get a draft pick in return.

    Here's the problem with the "low tender" as opposed to the "high tender." If they'd used the latter, a team would have to part with a first round pick for Alexander. But with the former, a team would only have to surrender a pick commensurate with the round the player was drafted in.

    Alexander went undrafted out of Missouri, so a team that tries to sign Alexander would give up nothing.

    The Chargers are taking a gamble here. Alexander caught 37 passes for 658 yards and 7 touchdowns, playing just 10 games. He became the deep threat the Chargers were missing when Vincent Jackson left and Robert Meachem didn't pan out.

    But, the 24-year-old has a history of injury trouble. He's had multiple knee surgeries, and although his legs didn't bother him in 2012, that kind of history can scare a team away from committing big money.

    The Chargers have already rolled the dice on Alexander. Now they have to hope another team is not willing to do the same thing.