The Chargers put forth some significant money to reinforce their backfield Tuesday. With Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead already under contract, San Diego signed former Colts running back Donald Brown to a three-year deal worth $10.5 million, $4 million guaranteed.
Brown had the best season of his career last season, emerging to become Indianapolis' starting running back in front of the struggling Trent Richardson. Brown averaged 5.2 yards per carry over 102 totes and scored a career-high eight total touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for another 214 yards.
Brown is getting basically the same amount of money as Toby Gerhart. I am not a fan of that deal, and this one makes even less sense. At least Gerhart will be given a clear opportunity to start for the downtrodden, talent-deficient Jags. But Mathews just put up very solid numbers and played 16 games for the first time. He should definitely be the top RB in the Chargers' backfield. And Brown can catch passes, but Woodhead caught 76 of them in 2013 while also averaging four yards per carry.
If the Chargers wanted to bring in a younger version of Ronnie Brown to spell Mathews between the tackles and replace him in the event of an injury, fine. But did they really have to pay this much money for a guy who will probably open the season as their No. 3 RB? That can't be. That is, unless head coach Mike McCoy actually wants to turn his running game into a three-man approach, in which case everyone suffers from a fantasy standpoint. How this all plays out is going to be very interesting. Right now, it's just confusing.
One connection can be drawn to Chargers general manager Tom Telesco, who spent 15 years in the Colts organization before jumping to San Diego in 2013. Brown represents the fourth former Colt he has signed during his short tenure, so Telesco obviously favors his former players.