With the announcement that the start of the new league year will be on time, there will be lots of movement in the next few days. The Chargers made a few key moves in preparation for the busy week, releasing Brandon Mebane, Thomas Davis and restructuring Denzel Perryman. With about $50M in cap space, and over 20 players hitting free agency, Tom Telesco should very active in acquiring players. Here are the most likely scenarios we should see.
Replacing Russell Okung and/or Sam Tevi
There is absolutely no way the Chargers go into next season with some combination of Sam Tevi, Trent Scott and Trey Pipkins again. That was the most obvious hole from last season, and doing so again would almost certainly cost Tom Telesco and Anthony Lynn their jobs. There are quite a few feasible players the Chargers could bring in. The could break the bank on a Jack Conklin or Bryan Bulaga type, or opt to bring in a player like Halapoulivaati Vaitai that has upside at a fraction the price. Either way, you can expect at least one player brought in to play either side.
A Glaring Hole at Nose Tackle
Now that Brandon Mebane has been released, and Damien Square potentially leaving in free agency, the Chargers are needing a defender to sit in the A gap to take on double teams. This is a strong free agency class of nose tackles, which may have made the decision of letting Mebane go that much easier. Since the Chargers’ interior line is so young, the likelyhood they look to the draft is slim. The question is what do they plan on spending at the position? Do the want to spend DJ Reader money, or will they opt for an aging veteran on a short term deal?
Pairing a Corner Opposite Casey Hayward
Everyone knows that Casey Hayward is one of the best corners in the league, but the team could use a running mate to create a top tandem. Michael Davis has played fine, but he doesn’t scare quarterbacks looking his way by any means. Also, Desmond King is limited to playing in the slot, so depth is a bit of an issue. The Chargers have been linked to division rival Chris Harris Jr. and are expected to make a push for him. The team could use an upgrade and there are plenty of capable players. Watch for Xavier Rhodes as another high profile target as well.
Think Travis Benjamin, but Better!
This is a very strong draft class for wide receivers, but there are also options in free agency as well. With Keenan Allen and Mike Williams as the penciled in starters, don’t expect any big names like Robby Anderson or AJ Green. Instead, think of a player like Phillip Dorsett, who has had great moments in New England and legit 4.3 speed to stretch the field. The Chargers offense has missed a reliable burner for a few years now. Travis Benjamin has the speed, but was not reliable. The Chargers will likely bring in someone on a short deal that will allow Keenen Allen to play more in the slot. The will likely draft one also.
Derek Watt Still Hasn’t Been Signed
He really is the best full back on the market and it would be foolish for the Chargers to let him walk. He was the teams core special teamer. Even so, the Chargers do not have another fullback on the roster, so they either find one not named Watt, or get one in the draft.
Depth at Defensive Ends and Linebacker
Isaac Rochell has not been re-signed and neither has Jatavis Brown. The Chargers also released Thomas Davis, which means there are concerns at depth. This can obviously be addressed in the draft, but it would make sense to bring in a reliable rotational veteran with a bit left in the tank. With Kyzir White and Drue Tranquil as emerging players, the Chargers don’t necessarily need a starter. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t use one. Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Uchenna Nwosu are pencilled in as edge rushers, so there will not be a big name signed here either.
Tom Brady or Not?
Fans are really split on this, but the fact of the matter is that this possibility exists. Whether or not the two sides move in together is yet to be seen. There is no other free agent that will likely done Powder Blue next year as long as Tyrod is on the roster for a $7.5M salary.