Updated March 16, 2012 @ 7:33 p.m. ET
The Chargers have added their second receiver since losing Vincent Jackson in free agency, signing Eddie Royal on Thursday evening. The deal is for three years and worth $13.5 million, including $6 million guaranteed.
Royal will join fellow new target Robert Meachem on the Chargers' roster. In four years in the NFL, all with the Broncos, Royal has 206 receptions for 2,107 yards. His career low for catches and yards came in 2011 with Denver.
It is expected Royal and second-year pro Vincent Brown will be San Diego's slot receivers, with Malcom Floyd and Meachem lining up on the outside.
The way we see it
Royal will be a good pickup for the Chargers, not only as a receiver, but also as a punt returner. His production has dipped considerably since a fantastic rookie year in 2008, but he should do well with Philip Rivers throwing him the ball. Also, by signing Royal from the Broncos, the Chargers weaken a division rival.
Surprisingly, the Chargers won a bidding war with the Redskins — who always overpay — for the services of Eddie Royal. It's a three-year deal worth $13.5 million with $6 million guaranteed. As I said in previous fantasy spins, second- and now third-tier players are being given money beyond their skills this offseason!
Royal will come in and try to compete to start, but more likely he will play the slot in a role he'll share with second-year player Vincent Brown. His contract makes it clear whom the team wants to use as the primary slot receiver. Royal has extra value in fantasy leagues that count special teams as he'll also fill in as a punt returner.
In Denver his whole career — four seasons — Royal's best season came in 2008 when he totaled 91-980-5 receiving and 11-109-0 rushing. He also had three games with more than 100 yards receiving, a career season. Experiencing a lost season in 2011 with QB Tim Tebow, he ended with 19-155-1 receiving and 7-48-0 rushing.
The slot receiver has never excelled in San Diego, mainly because of the heavy use of the tight end as a focal point in the offense. I don't expect that to change, and that makes Royal an in-season pickup unless there's an injury to a starter. Even then, the team could leapfrog Brown ahead of him, giving Royal minimum value right now.