Danny Woodhead inked a two-year extension to stay with the Chargers Tuesday afternoon. Woodhead’s initial two-year/$3.75 million dollar contract had to be one of the best bargains on the free agent market last season as he brought over 1,000 yards of total offense to the Bolts from New England in 2013. The move keeps the former Patriot in San Diego through the 2016 season.
While this news should be celebrated as Woodhead will no doubt be a huge part of the offense — giving the Chargers an unmatched versatility out of the backfield — it also brings up questions regarding Ryan Mathews future. The Chargers now have Woodhead and Donald Brown signed through 2016. Add to that, rookie 6th-round pick, Marion Grice, is signed through 2017, and Mathews doesn’t appear to be a player in the Chargers’ future plans. His contract option in 2015 was voided, making 2014 the last year the former Fresno State Bulldog is under contract with the Bolts.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean Mathews won’t be a Charger in 2015, but it is hard to see San Diego keeping four running backs moving forward. This is the unfortunate reality of being a running back in the NFL these days. Unless your name is Adrian Peterson, more often than not you will play out your rookie contract and have trouble finding a big pay day thereafter. Guys like Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, and LeSean McCoy were exceptions, but moving forward, it appears teams are more than willing to keep drafting “plug in” backs as opposed to paying stars huge contracts.
Either way, Ryan Mathews needs to have a big 2014. He has now been put on notice by the Chargers, and if nothing else, he needs to put out good film to earn himself a contract somewhere in the NFL next offseason.