Dec 8, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers (24) defends the pass by Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) during the second half at FedEx Field. The Chiefs won 45 - 10. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Flowers was a must-sign for San Diego Chargers, now a steal


When the news first broke that the San Diego Chargers had brought in former Kansas City Chiefs No. 1 CB Brandon Flowers for a visit, it was clear that the fit was perfect for both sides. Flowers did not deserve to make the Pro Bowl last season (it was a clear reputation pick), and he struggled in a new defensive scheme that stressed press coverage. The 5’9″, 187 pound Flowers is more of a finesse player, and he turned in easily the worst season of his career under Bob Sutton.

Flowers received plenty of suitors where he could immediately re-establish his credibility as a top corner in this league, but the Chargers looked like a particularly attractive option. The only legit corner on the roster before the time of his signing yesterday was rookie Jason Verrett, so Flowers would step into San Diego as the team’s No. 1 corner.

The Chargers needed Flowers even more, though, and he looked like a must-sign for Tom Telesco heading into the GM’s second season after making the Chargers a surprise playoff team in his first year. Flowers is a great scheme fit for the Chargers, and he’s a bit similar to rookie Verrett. Once a top shutdown corner, Flowers has the ball skills to defend around 20 passes in a season, and he can also play inside or outside. If the Chargers didn’t sign him, then both Shareece Wright (a disaster in coverage last season) and Richard Marshall (I doubt he’ll ever recreate his best days with the Carolina Panthers) would have been top three corners along with Verrett.

As it stands right now, the Chargers cornerback unit will run a top three of Flowers, Verrett, and Wright. While this group isn’t as strong as, say, the one the Denver Broncos will trot out, they could become the second-best unit in the AFC West if things break right. Scooping up a talented, scheme miscast from a top division rival like the Chiefs is usually a net win, even if the Chiefs obviously had no use for Flowers at this stage.

Last season, the Chargers were high on the ability of big corner Derek Cox to star as the team’s top corner, but he was an unmitigated disaster and was benched repeatedly before being released. He found work with the Minnesota Vikings, but he was so bad that the Chargers couldn’t afford to give him an opportunity to make good on his talent in Jacksonville and bounce back to fulfill the large contract they handed to him in 2013. I doubt Flowers ends up turning into Cox, but the Chargers can’t take that risk. This deal contains a few safeguards for the Chargers in case Flowers ends up being Cox 2.0, because it’s only a one-year deal (those never carry risk) and has incentives that can kick it up from being worth $3 million to $5 million.

With Flowers and Verrett in front of star safety Eric Weddle, the Chargers defensive backfield has a great chance of being more than competent for a change. Verrett was my top-ranked cornerback in this year’s class, and it was huge for Telesco to be able to pull him at the end of round one. He may be small, but he has elite ball skills, understands the position, plays the run well, has good physicality, and he has the upside to be a shutdown corner in this league. Brent Grimes and Flowers himself are two players who have proven that skill-set is more important than size, and Verrett could follow in the same vain. Heck, adding Flowers should have some nice fringe benefits from Verrett, who can see that kind of a player first-hand and learn from him over the course of the season.

Huge needs call for significant signings, and the Chargers added a talented, proven veteran to a low-risk deal that makes plenty of sense for both sides. They didn’t allow need to make them too desperate either, as the deal they inked with Flowers is favorable for the organization despite plenty of interest from other clubs. The Flowers signings is a bit similar to the Dwight Freeney signing Telesco made in his first offseason, when he signed Freeney to a two-year deal after Melvin Ingram went down and threatened to deplete the Chargers of a legitimate pass rush. And while Freeney went down early in the season, he looked phenomenal before the injury and showed more ability than we thought. Flowers is younger, cheaper, and carries less risk on his deal, so, based on the Chargers need for a potential lockdown corner, this deal can even be described as a coup.For those of you who like handing out grades, this one is an A.

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Tags: Brandon Flowers Notes And Analysis San Diego Chargers Transactions

  • BlueBoltFan

    Nice post! I felt largely the same way as news of the deal came to light. Flowers can be to Verrett what Freeney can be for Attaochu, a productive veteran with a very similar skill set to learn from.

    We’ll see how this all plays out, but so far, I’m very impressed with what Telesco has done, including learning from the mistake of overpaying Derek Cox.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Thanks. Going into the draft, Verrett and Attaochu were two of my favorite prospects, so I might be a bit biased in my effusive praise of the Chargers draft. The front office clearly knows how to evaluate talent, and they were able to pounce on Keenan Allen last year after grabbing a solid tackle in D.J. Fluker in the first.

      Not every signing pans out, of course, so the Chargers definitely struck out on Cox despite snagging a great turnaround guy in King Dunlap and bagging the solid Freeney. I would have let Cox stick around for another year, but it’s always great to see front offices avoid the sunk cost fallacy. A sign of a great GM who is willing to admit mistakes and move on is making the move Telesco did to cut his losses with Cox, and that’s a move a certain, previous Chargers GM would never have made.

  • Scott Lee Miller

    We are a different organization now! Gone are the days of fielding a sub par team! T.T. And the real McCoy are young hungry men who want to be Winners!!! The Flowers signing is a true indicator of where we are going. In the past he would of been snatched up by someone else.

    • powderBLUE801

      True very true words my friend. In the past AJ would have just waived at Flowers as he walked past. Not now!! Now we have real guys in the front office that have a brain and want to win.

    • Joel Ayala

      BRAVO!!!

  • Gunnar Martin

    I love the signing, but I think you are underrating Shareece Wright. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty early in the season, but as the second half of it rolled around, his growth was evident. His play improved dramatically, and chances are the same thing will happen again between the end of last year and the beginning of this one. He’s still not anything like a shutdown corner, but at least he isn’t atrocious like you seemed to make him out to be.

    • Tyreece Kaete Sr.

      Yeah i agree sharese Wtight turned it on and became that guy for SD, idk what this guy is talking about

  • Austin Wagner

    As a chiefs fan it will be hard to root against Flowers. SD made a good snag grabbing him. He should be right back to his old form in a more fitting defensive scheme.

    • Scott Lee Miller

      Hey Austin! Want to congratulate for not being a hater and just telling it like it is… # classy chief fan#

      • Austin Wagner

        Right back at you bud, I’m a die hard chiefs fan, but I’m a much bigger fan of football as a whole… with out goose rivalries playing the season would mean so much less

        • Gunnar Martin

          Good on ya man

    • powderBLUE801

      Classy words my man!! It’s easy to agree and talk with KC fans but Oakland fans are a different story haha. Flowers will flourish in on our D as he will go back to what he knows and plays best at. It’s always tuff when you like a guy that goes to a rival AFC team. #Vasquez #Phillips