The San Diego Chargers are expected to release LT Marcus McNeill next month in order to clear millions of dollars in salary cap space, but are the Atlanta Falcons looking at bringing in the veteran left tackle? D. Orlando Ledbetter of AJC.com poses the question and hints that the Atlanta Falcons could be looking at McNeill.
McNeill struggled with injury issues over the past two seasons, playing just 20 of the team’s last 32 games. However, that number is a bit skewed. McNeill sat out the first six games of the San Diego Chargers 2010 season, failing to sign his tender, wanting a new, long-term contract. The Chargers were eventually able to bring in McNeill and get a deal done with the left tackle.
When healthy, Marcus McNeil is as good a left tackle as there is in the game today. He finished fourth in voting for the 2006 offensive rookie of the year award. He finished his rookie season without drawing a flag for holding. McNeill was named to two Pro Bowls in his young career.Prior to being bit by the injury bug, McNeill started 62 of a possible 64 games.
While McNeill is not expected to be cleared medically by the San Diego team doctors, Mr. Ledbetter suggests Atlanta doctors have a history of clearing players with a background of neck injuries.
The possible addition of McNeill would not only benefit the Falcon’s pass protection, but significantly upgrade the running game. Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson had his best season rushing the ball in 2006, McNeill’s first year. Tomlinson rushed for over 1,800 yards and scored 28 touchdowns that season with most of his big plays coming from running behind McNeill.