Following back-to-back disappointing seasons that saw a supremely talented San Diego team miss the playoffs, the Chargers could be on the verge of making a big free-agent splash this offseason.
The Chargers have assigned an unknown price that they would be willing to pay in order to sign presumptive free agent Mario Williams, U-T San Diego reported Tuesday. The newspaper also reported the team spoke with Williams' agent, Ben Dogra, at the NFL Scouting Combine last month, but it's unclear if Williams' name specifically came up in conversation.
Williams, 27, is considered the top defensive free agent in this year's class, after totaling 53 sacks in six seasons with the Houston Texans. Williams made the switch from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker this past season when the Texans hired defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, but was lost for the year when he tore his pectoral muscle after only playing five games.
The Texans elected not to use their franchise tag on Williams, and, barring a deal before Tuesday's deadline, the former No. 1 overall draft pick is set to enter free agency.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith has stressed his "philosophy has not changed" in his approach to free agency, according to U-T San Diego, though the newspaper reported the Chargers haven't ruled out pursuing Williams.