COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Veteran center Mike Pouncey agreed to a two-year contract Monday with the Los Angeles Chargers, who added a standout run-blocker to their powerful offense.
Pouncey was released by Miami last week after the three-time Pro Bowl selection refused a pay cut. He started all 16 games for the Dolphins last season, his seventh in the NFL.
The Chargers swooped in to grab a new centerpiece for what’s likely to be an impressive offensive line. Los Angeles finished fourth in the league last season with 376.6 yards per game despite fielding only the 26th-best rushing attack.
Philip Rivers was sacked a career-low 18 times last season, but Los Angeles sometimes struggled to get traction with its running game. The offensive line’s blocking was considered the primary reason for running back Melvin Gordon’s inconsistency, and Pouncey is among the NFL’s best run-blocking centers.
Pouncey is the second big-name veteran addition to the Chargers’ line in two seasons. Los Angeles signed left tackle Russell Okung to a four-year, $53 million deal last year, and he promptly earned his second Pro Bowl selection in a standout season.
Okung and starting right tackle Joe Barksdale are returning for Los Angeles. Promising right guard Forrest Lamp is healthy after missing his rookie season due to injury, and fellow second-year pro Dan Feeney is likely to be the starting left guard.
Spencer Pulley started all 16 games at center last season. The former undrafted free agent from Vanderbilt could be a versatile reserve after playing extensively at guard in college.
After winning nine of their final 12 regular-season games and barely missing the playoffs, the Chargers waited several days to make a splashy move in free agency. Los Angeles signed run-blocking tight end Virgil Green away from Denver, and also added kicker Caleb Sturgis to address last season’s most problematic position.
The Chargers’ only significant free-agent departure so far is seldom-used defensive lineman Jerry Attaochu’s move to San Francisco.
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