Chargers dangling Edwards for trade


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Jan 22, 2006
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Chargers dangling Edwards for trade

By Kevin Acee
April 14, 2006

Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards, a Chula Vista native, will be moving on – if not real soon then at least sooner than he would like.

General Manager A.J. Smith verified when asked yesterday that he has notified the rest of the NFL (except AFC West foes) that Edwards is available for trade.

Smith would not confirm what might pry Edwards away, but it is a good bet a first-day draft pick would accomplish it.
“If it's not attractive, nothing will be done,” Smith said. “If it is, decisions will be made.”

At the very minimum, his being shopped appears to be confirmation Edwards will not be getting the long-term contract he desires in San Diego and will be let go after this season. He is in the final year of the $18.75 million pact he signed when he came to the Chargers as a free agent in 2002.

Edwards, the Chargers' leading tackler each of his four seasons here, has angled for a raise each of the past three years. He and Smith have disagreed as to his worthiness for a lucrative extension.

Only Miami's Zach Thomas has more tackles than Edwards over the past seven seasons, but it is debatable what Edwards would bring in trade in that the cap hit to a team that signed him would be $3.55 million.

After spending his first six seasons in Kansas City, Edwards reunited with head coach Marty Schottenheimer in San Diego in '02. While starting every game since, he has averaged 149 tackles a season. He also has 14 interceptions as a Charger, twice leading the team.

However, he is entering his 11th season and just turned 33. And while his numbers are always good, he is seen as more of an auxiliary linebacker.

Edwards has said in the past he wants to stay here and play another four years or so. He did not return phone messages yesterday.

These were some of his thoughts this past season on the lack of a satisfactory contract:

“I was highly upset, because I think both parties knew where it stood – my production, how much I'm being compensated and where I rank in the league . . . I do everything right. I just want to be compensated.”

A Chargers Pro Bowler has signed with infamous agent Drew Rosenhaus and is not attending the team's offseason workouts. Fortunately for the Chargers, it's not Antonio Gates or LaDainian Tomlinson but special teamer Hanik Milligan.

And the Chargers are trying to trade Milligan anyway, both Rosenhaus and Smith confirmed yesterday.
Milligan has been with the Chargers for three seasons. He spent his rookie year on injured reserve and has played just a handful of plays at safety the past two seasons.

Justice served
The Chargers entertained USC offensive tackle Winston Justice at their complex yesterday, an interesting visit considering Justice is likely to be long gone by the time the Chargers pick at 19th in the draft.
“They seemed very interested and hopefully they can move up,” Justice said. “ . . . I'd love to be a Charger.”

Justice (6 feet 6, 315 pounds) has rocketed up the projected draft boards – it is believed he will go anywhere from eighth to 14th – after an eye-popping workout at USC's pro day. Among his numbers were a 39-inch vertical leap and 38 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press.

He would fill a need for the Chargers at left tackle, as 33-year-old Roman Oben is recovering from a serious foot injury that has required two surgeries.

Smith said he is “totally open-minded” about moving up in the draft. Justice has visited Tampa Bay and Philadelphia and will go to Dallas next week. Buffalo and Baltimore are reportedly interested in his services as well. All those teams, except Tampa, pick ahead of the Chargers.

Linebacker Steve Foley said rest has done him good and he is 100 percent recovered from the abdominal strain that bothered him the second half of last season. . . . Safety Bhawoh Jue has been absent from offseason workouts while he rehabilitates from knee surgery. “I think he'll be OK, from what I'm hearing medically,” Smith said.
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