Ryan Mathews carried the ball 285 times last season, fourth-most in the NFL. Allhough injuries have certainly been a problem for him, both he and Danny Woodhead had career years for the Chargers in 2013. So why would the team go out and give Donald Brown a three-year deal to be a third wheel? Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said Wednesday it was about giving the offense more options, and he insinuated Brown's presence will not lead to a decreased workload for Mathews.
"We know Ryan is our bell cow," Telesco said during a radio interview. "He's our No. 1 back. He had an excellent year last year. And we all know what Danny Woodhead can do in his role. We saw that for 16 games last year. And we think Donald can come in and add to that, too, and give us some different options. And a different style, too. The more weapons we can have for Philip Rivers, the better."
All of this leads me to believe that Brown will be a younger edition of Ronnie Brown this season. He'll block, catch a couple of passes, and come in when Mathews needs a breather, If Mathews stays healthy, Brown will end up being an expensive insurance policy, but history tells us that the Chargers needed another between-the-tackles runner in the event that Mathews' health in 2013 turns out to be an outlier. But until an injury occurs, Mathews is a solid RB2, Woodhead is a solid RB2 in PPR leagues only, and Brown has minimal value in any format.