Brees could end up on open market

The clock is ticking toward Thursday's deadline for designating franchise and transition players, and in the case of San Diego quarterback Drew Brees, who is coming off surgery to his right shoulder and whose availability for offseason conditioning programs is iffy at best, it will likely strike 12 without the team's using a marker to retain his rights.

But if the Chargers do place a tag on Brees, particularly the transition marker, things could get very interesting.

The transition tag would technically allow Brees, who suffered a torn right labrum in the meaningless season-ending loss to Denver, to shop himself as a free agent, solicit interest from other clubs, and even sign an offer sheet with another team. If he were to sign elsewhere, San Diego would have the right to match the offer sheet, or allow Brees to exit, without any draft choice compensation from his new club.