Tre Boston played free safety for the Chargers last season. However, Boston, who is an unrestricted free agent, says the Chargers view him as a strong safety.
Tre Boston remains unsigned.
The 25-year-old safety signed a one-year deal with the Chargers last season after surprisingly getting cut by the Carolina Panthers just a few days after the 2017 NFL Draft ended. Boston, a former 2014 fourth-round pick, had his best season yet, playing in all 16 games and finishing with career highs in combined tackles (79), pass deflections (eight) and interceptions (five). Occupying the free safety position, Boston played 99.3 percent of defensive snaps, the highest percentage of any defender on the team, per Pro Football Reference.
Boston is rightfully looking for a multi-year deal. How much is he asking for? That’s unknown. However, he’s been vocal and made it known that he’s surprised by the lack of offers (of the high dollar amount).
But what’s interesting is the Chargers now view Boston as a “strong safety-type of player,” according to Boston himself. Boston spoke with Alex Marvez of Sporting News and told him that his agent has been in contact with the Chargers, but both sides have reached an impasse.
In my opinion, Boston is better suited to play free safety. It’s quite obvious that he’s good in coverage but struggles mightily as a tackler. According to Pro Football Focus, Boston ranked ninth among safeties with an 87.8 coverage grade, but he ranked 42nd among safeties in tackle efficiency in the running game. Perhaps the Chargers want someone with more range at that position.
Overall, it’s been a slow market for safeties. Tyrann Mathieu, who is one of the best safeties out there, signed a one-year, $7 million deal with the Houston Texans after getting released by the Arizona Cardinals because he declined to take a pay cut. Safeties Kurt Coleman and Morgan Burnett reached multi-year deals with their respective teams, but the guaranteed money they both received was minimal. Like Boston, youngsters Kenny Vaccaro and Eric Reid are still available.
The Chargers recently signed former Eagles safety/cornerback Jaylen Watkins, who was also a former 2014 fourth-round pick (101st overall). Watkins, 26, will likely compete at free safety, but he doesn’t have much starting experience (only five starts as a Philadelphia Eagle). Until we see more, he’s merely a depth signing who will make more of an impact on special teams.
If I’m general manager Tom Telesco, I’d try and add Reid or bring Boston back on a two- or three-year deal. That is, of course, if the price is right. If they can’t reach an agreement, expect the Chargers to add a free safety in the draft to compete with Watkins, Rayshawn Jenkins and Adrian Phillips for a starting role.