Chargers create new hole by cutting Spikes

Chargers Cut Spikes (2:22)

ESPN.com AFC West blogger Bill Williamson discusses San Diego releasing two-time Pro Bowl LB Takeo Spikes. (2:22)

Whenever a 36-year-old is released, especially by a new regime, it shouldn’t be a shock.

But I do find it just a tad surprising that the first big move by San Diego's new brass is releasing linebacker Takeo Spikes. He does provide some value. He is still a starting-quality player and a positive influence in the locker room. In his two seasons in San Diego, Spikes was a defensive captain and voted the most inspirational player. Earlier in the offseason, quarterback Philip Rivers said he hoped Spikes would be back.

But changes on the roster happen when there is a regime change. This new group is not connected to Spikes. All they saw was a 36-year-old linebacker and the opportunity to save some salary-cap room. The move saved the Chargers $3 million on the cap, and they now have more than $10 million in cap room.

But now the Chargers, who have pressing needs on the offensive line and at cornerback, have another need. They need to find another inside linebacker. No one on the current roster can be relied upon to replace Spikes. Perhaps Jonas Mouton will be ready, but that's not a given. It appears the Chargers will have to find a starter in free agency or through the draft.

Meanwhile, I can see Spikes getting some interest from teams running 3-4 defenses. The Chiefs could use an inside linebacker and adding a vocal force such as Spikes to a unit that has three Pro Bowl players could be worth pursuing. Plus, Andy Reid traded for Spikes in 2007 when he was with the Eagles. He played there one season and was released after a serious injury. I could see Reid thinking about a reunion.

Meanwhile, here is a look at the Chargers’ needs going into the offseason.