What was Eric Weddle’s worth to an NFL team? Whatever the market was willing to pay him, that what it was. Not what the Chargers offered, what he demanded. No, what he could get from a team.
And so the veteran safety is officially gone. Let the true debate begin.
Weddle was valued after being drafted out of Utah. He came to play immediately. He grew as a talent, developed as a leader. He became a trustworthy employee. And then he was treated badly.
So the Chargers have moved on, importing journeyman Dwight Lowery, a self-made man, much like Weddle, to replace Weddle. Lowery has moved around, this being his 5th team in 9-years. He makes plays, he gets hurt. He will earn less, alot less, than Weddle earned.
Is he better, only time will tell. He’s much faster than Weddle, plays tough, hits people, makes tackles, seems to be a ballhawk. Weddle was steady, dependable, smart. But Weddle missed tackles, lots of them, but he was a magnet for turnovers, picks and loose footballs. He made a ton more good plays than bad ones, always played, and was a quiet dependable leader.
Should we have gotten to this point, this ugly divorce, between a team in need, and a good citizen-player? Probably not.
Just put it in as another page in the mishandling of players and personalities by then GM-AJ Smith, and his replacement, current GM-Tom Teleseco. Neither one felt Weddle was worth the money he was seeking.
Obviously someone else did.
When the safeties first contract expired, he sought out a pay bump to about 7M per year. Smith balked, badgered, bullied. Weddle’s agent took him onto the open market.
Voila, here come the Houston Texans with a 5Y-offer that totalled 40M, an average of nearly 8M per campaign. Weddle called the club’s bluff, San Diego blinked, had to match, and paid, overpaid, for a good solid player, not a superstar player.
So he played out the contract, had good seasons, shaky seasons, and revisited the money issues again. If 8M was the final average he got, he must of expected that would be the starting point for talks in a new deal.
Never happened. Bitterness. Alienation. Distrust. The beginning of the end came with the boycott of off season workouts and a publc complain of the situation. The end of season 10,000-fine by the club for the halftime locker room issue climaxed it.
Weddle goes back on the open market, and the same thing happens. This time Baltimore jumps in and signs him to a 4-year deal worth 26M, with 9M the first year, a pay raise, and 13M guaranteed thru years one and two.
So Weddle leaves, and takes a shot with a statement of going to a championship organization. The Ravens used to be, not any more. Just like the Chargers used to upper echelon, not any more.
We reach full circle. Weddle gets a payday, the Chargers let another good player go. The aftermath, ugly words.
Hard to say who is the bad guy here, but it never ends right with the Chargers and their stars. Trades, releases, free-agent moves, nasty comments.
A franchise that likes to preach ‘family’, sure doesn’t treat its established players very well.
If AJ hadn’t dealt with Weddle the way he did initially, maybe none of this would have happened. Maybe Telesco doesn’t value that player, nor the position as highly on the payroll chart.
What’s Weddle worth on the open market? What someone was willing to give him. That someone is Baltimore. The someone here, Chargers, didn’t believe in his value.
You could say this was just ‘business’ and that it wasn’t personal. But with this franchise, it seems to wind up the latter rather than the former.
See me at the end of the season to determine who was right vs wrong? Just don’t think you keep dumping good players-people on the street like this on an annual basis, in what has become the San Diego way.