San Diego Chargers sign offensive lineman Orlando Franklin

March 10, 2015

The San Diego Chargers used the NFL free agent signing period to address their needs in the trenches, as the team announced an agreement on a five-year contract with unrestricted free agent guard Orlando Franklin.  In addition, the team also signed restricted free agent center Trevor Robinson to a two-year contract, and defensive end Ricardo Mathews to a one-year contract.

Standing 6-7 and weighing 320 pounds, Franklin is heading into his fifth NFL season after spending the 2011-14 seasons with the Denver Broncos. A second-round pick by the Broncos in 2011 (46th overall), Franklin started all 17 games at left guard in 2014, including the divisional playoff game. It was his first season at left guard after starting 53 of 54 possible games at right tackle during his first three seasons.

As a rookie in 2011, Franklin started every game as the Broncos averaged a team-record 164.5 rushing yards per game. In 2012, he again started every game and allowed just 3.5 sacks for the season, fewest among right tackles who started every game and tied for third-fewest among all tackles.  Franklin shifted to left guard in 2014 as the Broncos allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL (17).

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Franklin’s family relocated to Toronto, Canada when he was three. His family moved to Delray Beach, Florida for his senior high school season.  Franklin then attended the University of Miami where he was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference pick before the Broncos selected him in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Meanwhile, the 6-5, 300-pound Robinson is a fourth-year center who originally signed with the Chargers last October. He proved to be a dependable reserve, taking over at center as an injury replacement during late-season, come-from-behind wins in Baltimore and San Francisco.

A native of Elkhorn, Nebraska, Robinson attended Notre Dame. He signed with Cincinnati as an undrafted rookie in 2012 and over the course of the 2012-13 seasons, he started seven of 19 games played for the Bengals.

The 6-3 and 300-pound Matthews, signed with the Chargers last September and played in 12 games with two starts. He recorded 25 tackles, 1.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles, tied for most on the team. One of Mathews’ forced fumbles was recovered for a touchdown by teammate Corey Liuget in the Chargers’ 38-35 overtime win in San Francisco in December. Mathews totaled six quarterback hits during the season as well, including a team-leading three during the Chargers win over St. Louis in late November.

Mathews spent his first four seasons (2010-13) with Indianapolis. A seventh-round pick by the Colts, Mathews played in 52 games in Indianapolis with six starts, compiling 60 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

In addition to today's signings, the Chargers have also inked return specialist Jacoby Jones (Baltimore), left tackle King Dunlap, and cornerback Brandon Flowers this offseason.

The Chargers also released guard Chad Rinehart.

By Staff of and news services

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