Free agency and the draft are on the horizon. We spoke with site expert Jason Reed and discussed the Los Angeles Chargers and their upcoming offseason.
The Chargers (9-7) just missed out on the playoffs in 2017. However, they are one of the more talented teams in the AFC and just a few pieces away from being serious contenders.
How can they get better? LA Sports Hub’s Jason Reed was kind enough to give us his thoughts in regards to the Chargers and their offseason:
Q: If you were GM Tom Telesco, name one outside free agent you’d go after and why.
Reed: “I am not entirely sure who exactly I would go with. I think it all depends on who the team thinks is going to fall to them in the draft. However, I would flirt with the idea of bringing in a guy like Zach Brown from Washington. We all know about Tremaine Edmunds and how good of a fit he would be on this team, but adding an experienced backer like Brown may be the smartest alternative, unless the Chargers want to trade up in the draft to ensure Edmunds.”
My take: Zach Brown would be a nice option. I wanted the Chargers to sign him when he was a free agent in 2016. After agreeing to one-year deals with two different teams (Bills and Redskins) the past two seasons, he’ll definitely be looking for a long-term deal. He’ll turn 29 years old in October and because of that, I’d rather go after LBs Anthony Hitchens or Avery Williamson, who are both 25 years old and coming into their own.
Q: WR Travis Benjamin has received much criticism from fans since signing a four-year deal in 2016. The Chargers have the option to save money by cutting him. What do you think the Bolts should do in this situation?
Reed: “I think they will probably try and get trade value for him, something like a sixth- or seventh-round draft pick. The team did not hesitate to trade Dontrelle Inman, and I do not see them hesitating on Benjamin. This, of course, is assuming that Tyrell Williams will return next season. Ultimately, though, if L.A. needs that money elsewhere they have the depth to get rid of him.”
My take: This is tough, because while Travis Benjamin brings something to the table (great speed and deep-threat ability), his mental mistakes and fear of contact have hurt the Chargers. He’ll be in the third year of his four-year, $24 million deal and hasn’t put up the statistics fans were expecting from him. Trading Benjamin would give the Chargers a draft pick and get them out of paying the 28-year-old. That sounds nice. The question is, will there be any buyers?
Q: The Chargers hold the No. 17 overall pick in the 2018 draft. We haven’t dealt with free agency yet, but do you have any favorites for their first-round selection?
Reed: “Like mentioned earlier, I REALLY like Edmunds. If it is not Edmunds, I would want to see the Chargers go get Maurice Hurst. Hurst is that perfect run-plug defensive tackle who not only will help in stopping the run but add to an already dangerous pass-rush. Outside of Edmunds and Hurst, there is no one I really am in love with.”
My take: Great minds think alike! It’s early, but LB Tremaine Edmunds is my favorite player in the draft, and I don’t think that’s going to change. LB Roquan Smith is a close second. However, those two might be taken before the Chargers are on the clock. That said, I’d be stoked for the Chargers to draft a player like DT Vita Vea or even S Derwin James (depending on Tre Boston’s situation). DT Da’Ron Payne and OT Mike McGlinchey are other options, too.
Q: Everyone knows that K, DL, LB, OL and even S (unless they re-sign Boston) are the team’s top needs, but what’s an underrated need the Chargers could address in free agency or the draft?
Reed: “Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. Philip Rivers is so durable and I do not see him getting hurt (knock on wood). But with such a deep quarterback class, the Chargers would be foolish to not capitalize and give the new QB two or three years to learn under Rivers. L.A. could land Mason Rudolph or Lamar Jackson in the second round, both of whom would be first-round talents in any other draft class. I think this is the year they finally start that transition.”
My take: Can’t argue with this. Chargers need to find a succession plan for Philip Rivers. Adding depth at RB/TE is also smart.
Q: Do you believe the Super Bowl window is now open for the Chargers? Or do you think they are a few years away from being a top contender?
Reed: “Not only do I think the window is open I think the window is narrow. Of course, the team is young and is dynamic. However, if they do not start planning for life after Rivers, well, that window will not last long. I have this feeling Joey Bosa will leave as soon as possible and that will start a ripple effect on the defense. Hopefully, I am wrong.
“However, I think that window is wide open and the Chargers have a very realistic shot of making a deep run. If they can be successful, that will keep the window open longer.”
My take: The Chargers are in a great position to make some serious noise. Like we saw last season, the main thing holding them back is themselves.