San Diego, CA- The San Diego Chargers and pending free-agent middle linebacker and defensive co-captain Donald Butler have resumed contract negotiations, according to Eric Williams of ESPN.com Butler and the Chargers were in negotiations for a contract extension coming into the season, before breaking them off at the start of the 2013 season. Butler is set to become a free agent on March 11 and both sides are hoping to get something done before the free agency period. Butler is also one of 11 Chargers set to become unrestricted free-agents when the free agency period begins. That includes wide-receivers Seyi Ajirotutu, Danario Alexander and Lavelle Hawkins, running back Ronnie Brown, cornerback Richard Marshall, offensive linemen Rich Ohrnberger and Chad Rinehart, strong safety and Special teams Captin Darrell Stuckey, defensive lineman Cam Thomas, and linebacker Reggie Walker.
The Chargers could franchise tag Butler if both sides cannot come to an agreement, but according to Williams the Chargers are unlikely to use the franchise tag on Butler as the projected franchise tag for Butler is around $10 million and would impact the teams ability to sign its own free-agents and bring in any free agent’s this offseason.
Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco didn’t address Butler’s contract negotiations during his interview with Williams, but he did state that the team’s main priority is not only adding impact players, but also keeping the team’s core group together.
“Ideally, the guys that you draft and developed for two, three or four years, you’d like to keep your core together,” Telesco said. “You’ve invested in them, and you kind of already know what you have. With the college draft, there’s a bigger pool of players to work through. And you can decide who fits you and who doesn’t. In free agency, you can have a position of need, and there’s only three or four guys available. And maybe none of them fit. In college with the draft, there’s a lot more.”