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Kenny Wiggins seeks long-term home at guard in free agency

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Kenny Wiggins, the Los Angeles Chargers' longest-tenured offensive lineman for the moment, has always been touted for his versatility.

Wiggins has been learning the Chargers' offense since 2013 and was kept around because he could play all five spots along the line. But for the last two seasons, he has worked to carve out a niche as a starting guard. That's how the Fresno State product wants the rest of the league to see him as he hits free agency.

"I've always said the more you can do, the less you get paid," Wiggins said, smiling. "It's the truth. You've got to be able to play in one spot and play it well. If you can play a bunch of spots but you play them mediocre, then you're not going to get paid.

"Me playing every game at guard and locking down the spot, and being able to show people that I can be an everyday starter -- go out there, stay healthy and be a contributor on our line -- I think that speaks volumes."

With D.J. Fluker's release last March, Wiggins went into training camp in a competition at right guard with rookies Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney. Lamp suffered a season-ending knee injury in August and Wiggins won the job over Feeney.

Wiggins started all 16 games this season at right guard, playing 999 snaps. Only center Spencer Pulley (1,012) played more on offense.

Wiggins was part of an offensive line that anchored one of the best offenses in the NFL. Up front the Chargers allowed a league-low 18 sacks and paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in Melvin Gordon (1,105 rushing yards).

The Chargers also led the NFL in passing, averaging 277 passing yards a contest. Keenan Allen finished with a franchise-record 102 catches for a career-high 1,393 receiving yards with six scores.

"All it's about is opportunity," Wiggins said. "I'm glad I got it, and it happened at the right time. So it's good."

Wiggins is one of 14 Chargers set to become an unrestricted free agent in March. He'd liked to be back in the fold for the 2018 season.

"I'll relax for a little bit and then I'll figure it out," Wiggins said. "I'm a free agent, so we'll see what happens. Hopefully, I'm back here. But if not, it's on to the next."

Here's the 2017 season snap counts for the Chargers.

OFFENSE (Based on 1,020 snaps)

Quarterback: Philip Rivers 984, Kellen Clemens 36.

Running back: Melvin Gordon 721, Austin Ekeler 186, Derek Watt 137, Branden Oliver 99, Andre Williams 13.

Wide receiver: Keenan Allen 859, Tyrell Williams 817, Travis Benjamin 544, Mike Williams 223, Dontrelle Inman 36, Geremy Davis 12.

Tight end: Hunter Henry 573, Antonio Gates 478, Sean McGrath 211, Jeff Cumberland 145, Sean Culkin 11.

Line: Spencer Pulley 1,012, Kenny Wiggins 999, Russell Okung 889, Dan Feeney 644, Joe Barksdale 636, Matt Slauson 402, Michael Schofield 388, Sam Tevi 131, Chris Hairston 20, Michael Ola 14.

Offensive analysis: Rivers finished the season with 4,515 passing yards, the sixth-best total in Chargers history. ... Rivers' 342 career touchdowns tie Fran Tarkenton for sixth all-time in league history. ... The Chargers finished with a five-game winning streak at home. That is the best mark for the Bolts since 2009. ...The Chargers' 9-3 record in the final 12 games is the best stretch for the organization since 2009.

DEFENSE (Based on 997 snaps)

Line: Melvin Ingram 845, Joey Bosa 807, Brandon Mebane 513, Darius Philon 482, Corey Liuget 400, Damion Square 342, Tenny Palepoi 255, Chris McCain 227, Jerry Attaochu 55, Isaac Rochell 50.

Linebacker: Jatavis Brown 482, Hayes Pullard 453, Kyle Emanuel 290, Denzel Perryman 258, Korey Toomer 254, Nigel Harris 29, Nick Dzubnar 3, James Onwualu 2.

Secondary: Tre Boston 986, Jahleel Addae 978, Casey Hayward 954, Trevor Williams 953, Desmond King 676, Adrian Phillips 491, Rayshawn Jenkins 75, Jason Verrett 62, Michael Davis 35, Dexter McCoil 1, Craig Mager 1.

Defensive analysis: Dzubnar finished the season with a team-leading 21 special teams tackles. ... Bosa finished with a team-leading 12.5 sacks, but he also led the defense with nine penalties for 79 accepted yards. ... The Chargers finished No. 1 in red-zone defense with a 36.1 percentage inside the 20-yard line. ... The Bolts were No. 19 on third down defensively, allowing a 39 percent conversion rate. ... The Chargers allowed a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry.