1:23pm: Barksdale gets a one-year, minimum salary contract from the Chargers, with a $350K signing bonus and an additional $1MM available in incentives, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Those incentives are very reachable, a source tells Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link), who adds that Barksdale will be rewarded if he starts.
12:40pm: The last unsigned player on PFR’s Top 50 Free Agents list has found a new home, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that offensive tackle Joe Barksdale has agreed to terms with the Chargers. Years and dollars on Barksdale’s new deal aren’t yet known.
When I ranked Barksdale 36th overall among available players at the start of 2015’s free agent period, I observed that, given the lack of steady, reliable offensive tackles on the market, Barksdale looked like a decent bet to land a deal similar to the $6MM-per-year pacts signed by Austin Howard and Anthony Collins in 2014.
According to various reports, Barksdale was seeking a contract in that range, or close to it, at the start of free agency. However, many teams in need of offensive line help opted to roll the dice on more affordable alternatives, or ones with more upside, such as the Jaguars with Jermey Parnell. As such, Barksdale’s asking price has likely been reduced significantly.
As our Dallas Robinson observed when he examined Barksdale’s free agent stock, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked the former Ram just 48th out of 84 qualified tackles. However, his +5.6 run-blocking grade placed him just outside the top 10 in that category.
Barksdale, who previously worked out for the Falcons and drew interest from the Titans and Rams, visited the Chargers this week before agreeing to terms with the team. Having re-signed King Dunlap to play left tackle and added Orlando Franklin as their probable starter at left guard, the Chargers are set on that side of the line, but have some question marks on the right side.
Although GM Tom Telesco suggested earlier in the offseason that he envisions D.J. Fluker playing right tackle in 2015, I’d expect Barksdale to challenge for the starting role at that spot, making Fluker a candidate to move inside.