SAN DIEGO -- Reporters will get another opportunity to observe the San Diego Chargers during organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday.
At the top of the list of things I'll be monitoring will be the incremental progress Melvin Gordon is making in his return from offseason surgery. How the offensive line continues to gel also is worth watching.
The Chargers have only three more weeks of offseason work. After two more weeks of OTAs, San Diego will close with a mandatory minicamp from June 14-16.
Let's get to your questions:
@eric_d_williams what is the teams feeling on Te'o long term? Always gets hurt and inconsistent tackler.. Could Perry be his replacement?— K-J (@kjones0021) May 27, 2016
@eric_d_williams: Manti Te'o had his best season as a pro last year, emerging as a team leader on defense and finishing with a team-high 83 tackles.
Te'o is the defensive playcaller and has improved in pass coverage enough that he can stay on the field for all three downs.
A second-round selection in the 2013 draft, Te'o's contract is up at the end of the 2016 season. I think in an ideal scenario the Chargers bring back Te'o on a multiyear deal. However, the 25-year-old has to prove he can stay healthy.
Te'o has missed 13 games in his first three years because of various foot and ankle ailments. He has shed weight during the offseason so he can play faster and stay healthy during the regular season, so we'll see how that helps him in 2016.
The Chargers drafted two inside linebackers this year in Joshua Perry in the fourth round and Jatavis Brown in the fifth round. But those selections are more about improving roster depth and special teams, with the possibility that one of those players could emerge as a starter down the road.
Also, last year's undrafted rookie Nick Dzubnar flashed during exhibition play, and led the team in special teams tackles with 13.
But long-term the Chargers would like to settle in with Te'o and Denzel Perryman as the dynamic duo inside.
@eric_d_williams why isn't Mission Valley a better 2nd option than LA?— Shawn Scala (@ShawnScala) May 28, 2016
@eric_d_williams: It's a great question. The Chargers appear all-in on the downtown stadium and convention center annex project. That proposal, with an estimated cost of $1.4 billion, would require at least a simple majority public vote in November.
Of course, the Chargers' proposal does not have much support locally, with San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer not weighing in at this point on whether he supports or opposes the measure.
Faulconer pitched his own plan to build a $1.1 billion new NFL stadium at the current Mission Valley site last year. And while the Chargers are not enthusiastic about that project because they believe there are possibilities to generate more revenue at the downtown project, they have not said an outright no the Mission Valley location.
"As we explored in detail both opportunities -- after having spent a lot of time thinking about both -- we came to the conclusion that there were risks attendant in both locations," said Fred Maas, stadium adviser for the Chargers, when I asked him about choosing downtown over Mission Valley. "But the possibilities of what could be conceived downtown far surpassed the notion of just recreating a 10-day-a-year, football-only stadium on the Qualcomm site."
The Chargers already have a last-resort option as the second tenant with the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, but the franchise would have moved there this year if that's where it truly wanted to be.
According to the relocation agreement between the two teams, the Chargers have a one-year window that ends on Jan. 15, 2017 to move to Los Angeles as the second team in the Inglewood project.
However, the Chargers can extend that option to Jan. 15, 2018, if a referendum for public financing in San Diego is approved before Nov. 15 of this year. The Chargers can also receive an extension if the implementation of that ballot measure is challenged in court.
So if a downtown stadium project is not approved by voters in November, perhaps building a new stadium in Mission Valley is a better option than partnering with Rams owner Stan Kroenke in Inglewood?