The Los Angeles Chargers are primed for a great season this year, with the best roster that they have had since the LT era.
The landscape of the roster, however, could look very different next offseason. The Chargers locked up Joey Bosa to a massive extension for the 25-year old pass rusher, he will be making 27 million dollars a year on his 5-year contract which will end when he is 30.
The Chargers will have almost $75 million in cap space, which would rank in the top 5 for the next NFL offseason.
COVID could play a factor in this, however, as most cap space projections are based on the salary cap going up every season. Owners and NFLPA have been in talks to possibly lower the salary cap which would change the growth over the future.
The main concern coming into the 2021 offseason was the QB position which the Chargers drafted Justin Herbert with the 6th overall pick, they still might bring Tyrod back on a one year deal, depending on how ready Herbert is for the starting job.
The biggest thing that Tom Telesco will need to do is deciding which free agents to keep past the 2020 season and who will need to be replaced.
We will be going over the pending free agents for the Chargers in the upcoming offseason, and what moves we think Tom Telesco will make with these players.
Keenan is one of the biggest free agents the Chargers have next season. He has been very consistent throughout his career and hasn’t missed a game in the last 3 seasons and has arguably been a Top 5 receiver in the NFL over the last 3 seasons. Telesco will most likely try and make Keenan a Charger for life and he has earned that. We could see another deal made before the season like we did Bosa. There is a possibility that Telesco lets Allen walk and relies on Mike Williams and the batch of young receivers from their 2020 draft class.
Chargers resign Keenan to a 4-year deal worth $65 million, which would allow him to make more money than his last contract while still making it a team-friendly deal that he can play out until he is 32. That would still give him some leverage to sign another short-term deal to finish out his career.
Henry is a very talented tight end when he can stay healthy. This biggest knock on Henry is his injury issues that hurt his value to the Chargers. They decided to franchise tag Henry for the 2020 season, this will most likely be a “prove-it” year for him. If he can play all season, and stay healthy then the Chargers would be much more likely to sign him to a contract. He will most likely be a later decision on a deal because Telesco will want to get everything sorted out with the defensive contracts. The issue is that the Chargers don’t have a real replacement for Henry on the roster, which could affect his extension.
The Chargers let Henry walk in free agency and add a tight end in free agency or via the draft.
Ingram is the longest-tenured Charger on the roster, with him and Allen being the only players with 7+ seasons on the Chargers. Ingram is one of the captains and leaders of the locker room. Ingram and Bosa combo is one of the best in the league, it will be interesting to see how Telesco plans to keep the dynamic duo together. Ingram is 31, which may lead to some issues for him getting a long extension. The Chargers have Uchenna Nwosu who has been a really good pass rusher in limited usage, the Chargers might opt to make Nwosu the starting end opposite Bosa.
If Telesco can get Ingram on a one or two year deal, then the Chargers might resign Ingram. However, Nwosu is a very talented pass rusher and the Chargers could get younger and save a significant amount of money to use elsewhere on the roster. If Ingram wants a long contract or wants too much money, Telesco will let him walk for Nwosu.
King had a fantastic season in 2018, and the Chargers defense was one of the best in football with King and the addition of Derwin. He was a 1st team All-Pro defensive back and a 2nd team All-Pro punt returner in the 2018 season. 2019 was a very different story for King, his play regressed drastically and he butted heads with Anthony Lynn and has several muffed punts which led to him getting benched during games during the season. The Chargers signed veteran Chris Harris Jr. in the offseason, and he is expected to have the starting slot job. This leaves King without a defined position on defense, and he will have to earn the trust of the coaching staff to get a bigger role this season. He is still 25 years old, and the youngest corner on the roster.
If King can clean up his play then the Chargers will bring him back. He is one of the premier young cornerbacks and at his age, he will be a hot commodity in free agency. He would likely set the market for cornerbacks if he hits free agency, with his age and accolades. His one downside is that he can really only play the slot, but the Chargers might try him out on the outside this season if Davis plays poorly. The Chargers could also use King as a trade piece for a team that needs improved corner play and is willing to sign King in the offseason.
Jenkins was a pleasant surprise to the Chargers defense last year. He went mostly under the radar, and he played at a very high level in a season when the Chargers has several injuries in the secondary. He will most likely be the starting free safety for the Chargers this season unless Nassir Adderly makes significant improvements.
With the Chargers drafting Adderly in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft, they must like his talent. However, they most likely didn’t expect Jenkins to play so well last season. If he has another great season then the Chargers might look to trade Adderly or keeping him for depth. Jenkins will play next to Derwin James all season, and should hopefully develop even more.
Chargers have a ton of depth in their secondary and it will be interesting to see how Telesco and the coaching staff will utilize them. Jenkins is a very talented safety, and still very underrated so the Chargers could get a team-friendly deal and sign him to an extension. Chargers sign Jenkins to a 4-year deal worth $30 million, which is a similar deal to the one that they signed Ekeler for in the offseason.
Pouncey went down with a neck injury last season the Chargers offense really fell off, it didn’t help that Russel Okung was also out most of the season. Both Pouncey and Okung were Pro Bowlers in 2018, and with Pouncey coming back healthy this year the Chargers rushing attack should improve greatly. His neck injury was pretty serious and there were also concerns that it would be career-ending. This could cause some issues for his future with the Chargers and in the NFL, if he reaggravates his neck then he might be forced to retire. Pouncey is still a Pro Bowl level center and he is a team captain, who will be in charge of protecting Taylor and Herbert.
Pouncey is nearing the end of his career and with the scary neck injury last year, this could be his last season playing football. The Chargers would love to have his veteran presence in the locker room, and if he can play all season then they could possibly bring him back on a one year deal.
Taylor is a journeyman QB, who is 30 years old. We don’t know how he will perform this year, but the confidence that the Chargers coaching staff has in him is a great indicator. He is a great mobile QB who is great at limiting turnovers. The Chargers are confident that Tyrod can help mentor Herbert and get him ready to start in 2021.
Taylor outperforms expectations this season, Chargers would like to bring him back on a 1-year deal, so he can continue to mentor Herbert as he takes over as the starting QB. If Taylor does well enough he would only be 31, and there might be some teams that want to sign him as a starting QB or using him to bridge the gap for a rookie QB like the Chargers did.
Perryman has played for the Chargers for a long time, and it has been an interesting ride. The Chargers extended Perryman in the 2019 offseason to a 2-year deal. Drue Tranquil outplayed him most of last season and Perryman was hurt for part of the season as well. Injuries have been one of the biggest issues with Perryman, he has never played a full 16 games in his six-year career. With the Chargers adding to their linebacking core in Tranquill and Murray and restructuring Perryman’s deal this offseason, he will most likely not be in the Charger’s future plans.
The Chargers could even possibly cut Perryman before the season starts, however they will most likely keep him around to provide some depth at the linebacker position. Chargers let Perryman walk in Free Agency and make Drue Tranquill the starter.
Featured Image: ---