The Los Angelas Chargers have one of the best Wide Receiving duos in the league. Keenan Allen might be the best pure route runner and is a reliable go-to target on 3rd down. Mike Williams is a big play threat with the size to out muscle defenders deep. What the Chargers are missing is a reliable WR3, preferably with the speed of Travis Benjamin, but better hands. Think Mecole Hardman in Kansas City, Marquise Brown with the Ravens or maybe an Andy Isabella in Arizona. All those players were drafted in 2019 with sub 4.4 speed, and while the Bolts may look toward the draft to address the position, there are veterans in free agency that could fill the void as well.
The Chargers will not be in the market for a top WR1, so I won’t consider receivers who will be up for a big pay day. Amari Cooper and Robby Anderson will not be in Los Angeles simply because they are not targets that fit what the Bolts will be looking for. Thats not to say that there are not players who are affordable and would fit in what ever offense we will see in Shane Steichan’s system next year. The WR3 spot is open and I am banking on it being a player with jets, either in free agency or in the draft. Below is a list of notable free agents who specialize at catching the ball.
- AJ Green – Cincinnati Bengals
- Emmanuel Sanders – San Francisco 49ers
- Devin Funchess – Indianapolis Colts
- Taylor Gabriel – Chicago Bears
- Amari Cooper – Dallas Cowboys
- Randell Cobb – Dallas Cowboys
- Breshad Perriman – Tampa Bay
- Robby Anderson – New York Jets
- Demaryius Thomas – New York Jets
- Phillip Dorsett – New England Patriots
- Jarius Wright – Carolina Panthers
- Nelson Agholor – Philadelphia Eagles
- Josh Gordon – Seattle Seahawks
- Tavon Austin – Dallas Cowboys
- Chris Hogan – New England Patriots
- Cody Latimer – New York Giants
- Justin Hardy – Atlanta Falcons
- Jordan Matthews – San Francisco 49ers
- Laquon Treadwell – Minnesota Vikings
- Tajae Sharpe – Tennessee Titans
- Keenan Cole – Jacksonville Jaguars
- Seth Roberts – Baltimore Ravens
For whatever reason, Laquon Treadwell hasn’t seemed to get it all together, and maybe a change of scenery can jumpstart his career. He was a 1st-round draft pick in 2016 and was ranked the #1 wide receiver in high school by Rivals and ESPN. While he may not have the speed the team may be looking for, he has all the skills to be a WR1 in the league. He will be signing a 1-year prove-it deal in the offseason, and the Chargers could get a very productive year out of a high caliber player who needs an opportunity to prove that he can play in this league. He will be very cheap and should he disappoint or become injured, the price to upside value he could provide would be worth it as a WR3 or WR4.
Another player with a 1st-round draft pedigree who has disappointed in his short career is Phillip Dorsett. Drafted 29th overall in 2015, The Colts envisioned him as a burner to take heat off T.Y Hilton. He hadn’t lived up to expectations as a Colt, so he was traded to the New England Patriots for Jacoby Brissett and even won a Super Bowl. The Patriots struggled with injuries to Receivers and Dorsett had not been able to step up to his full potential with increased opportunities. He is not going to be the focal point to any offense, but he has real 4.3 speed with better hands then Travis Benjamin. He has had big games and he could be a decent player to have around a rookie signal caller.
Taylor Gabriel has moved around the league a bit, but he has been fairly productive at each of the 3 clubs he’s played for. Gabriel is a smaller player at 5’7, 170 pounds, but he is extremely fast at sub 4.3 speed. He has multiple seasons of 600 yards receiving and he can be a dangerous punt/kick returner as well. Desmond King can be dangerous, but can’t be trusted to catch punts reliably, so the team does need a player of Gabriels caliber in the return game. He signed a 4/yr, $26M contract with the Bears, but is being released as a cap casualty. He may have a bigger market, but could still fall in the Chargers price range.
While not really the type of player the Chargers will probably target, Devin Funchess has had a productive career with the Panthers. He sat on Injured Reserve with the Colts last year and only signed a 1-year, $10M Contract. While that may be out of the Chargers budget for a WR3, it’ll be interesting to see what Funchess market is this next year. If the Chargers can get another 1-year contract for Funchess on another prove-it deal, Funchess could be more affordable then he was last year. Pairing Funchess and Williams on the outside, with Allen in the slot could create matchup problems underneath the safeties.
Randell Cobb is extremely underrated. He played most of his career for the Green Bay Packers as a compliment to both Jordy Nelson and later Davonte Adams. He is at his best working as a number 2 or 3 receiver. While Allen is drawing double teams and Williams is used in deep routes, Cobb could be a great check down to a rookie signal caller. Last year, Cobb was the number 3 receiver to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, where he had 55 catches for 828 yards receiving. He can line up in the slot or out wide. He signed a 1-year, $5M contract last year, and while he may have raised is value last year, he can be found around $7M/year.
Ideal Scenario: Chargers sign a speedy receiver such as Taylor Gabriel or Phillip Dorsett to a short-term contract around $5M/year. Randall Cobb around $7M/year makes sense as well, but I think the team will more likely try to replace Travis Benjamin with the same type of player.