Right now, the Los Angeles Chargers have a very strong roster and if not for the poor start, they would have made the playoffs. Here’s a guide to how they can put themselves in a prime position to make a strong run at SB 53.
First, let’s take a look at the team’s most glaring needs. Obviously kicker is one, but the team also needs to address the defensive tackle, linebacker and interior offensive line positions. Although the defensive line is strong, stopping the run was an issue. Although Denzel Perryman helped in that area, it remained below average. Brandon Mebane is 33 years old and is struggling to win matchups and open gaps for the linebackers. In addition, pairing Perryman with one or two more quality starters could possibly put the defense in the conversation as one of the best. Lastly, the addition of a strong guard allows the team to move Dan Feeney to center resulting in a line that looks like Russell Okung/free agent or draft/Feeney/Forrest Lamp/Joe Barksdale.
Next, let’s take a look at two players who I want the Chargers to go after in free agency.
Norwell has consistently been one of the top guards in the game for the last couple years, but this year he took his game to another level. Norwell is excellent in both the run and pass game. PFF ranked him as their No.3 guard. If the Chargers can lock him up, that would hopefully put their offensive line around the top 10 in the league. Norwell is probably looking to get around what T.J. Lang got in free agency last year ($5.5 million annually). The Chargers should aim to sign him to a 3-year, $17 million deal with about $9 million guaranteed.
A lot of people are not going to know Davis’ name, but he performed extremely well for the New York Jets this season. He’s exactly what the Chargers need in an outstanding run defender. He had the second most “stops” (a PFF statistic which is defined as a tackle that prevents the offense from gaining 40 percent of the yardage needed for a first down on a first-down play, 60 percent of the yardage on a second-down play, and 100 percent of the yardage on a third or fourth-down play). His run-stop percentage, although not as impressive, was still solid at 8.9% (14th best). In addition, in 470 snaps he only allowed 342 yards in coverage (.73 per snap = 3rd best). However, his career has been relatively inconsistent. In conclusion, this is a guy the Chargers need to take a chance on should the Jets not sign him. Look for a 1-year, $2.75 million “prove it” deal.