With the recent, somewhat unexpected signing of Geno Smith, the Chargers QB depth chart just got a little more interesting.
Two weeks ago, the Chargers signed free agent QB Geno Smith to a one-year deal. Ultimately, the Chargers QB conversation has always come down to the fact that Philip Rivers is in fact the NFL’s new iron man (thanks, Ben McAdoo), and that he’ll be playing all 16 games.
But with Cardale Jones already on the depth chart, not knowing quite what’s happening with Kellen Clemens yet and the NFL draft just a couple weeks away, there’s more intrigue than usual.
First, let’s start with Smith himself. Some fans and analysts don’t like the signing of him on paper, primarily due to his tenure with the Jets. He certainly wasn’t good there. But it’s important to remember that you aren’t signing Smith to be the No.1. It’s ultimately a low-risk signing that can be used to create some competition behind Rivers. While there may be some thought that Jones could rise to be the heir to Rivers, that doesn’t really exist with Smith. He’s had his shot. But to repeat, it’s a low-risk signing. Nothing will ultimately come of it other than him being the second or third guy behind Rivers.
Jones came from Buffalo in a trade last summer, a move that many thought was primarily made by Anthony Lynn, an offensive coordinator in Buffalo while Jones was there. Jones struggled quite a bit last preseason, but he came in very late in the offseason, just as the preseason was about to start. This offseason and this preseason will give us a much better direction as to what Jones’ ceiling with the Chargers could be, as he’ll have more reps, more time and more familiarity with the playbook.
The increased role of Jones will likely come at the departure of Clemens, who is an unrestricted free agent. Clemens has been the backup QB for the Chargers for the last four years, but reports indicate that the Seahawks are showing some interest in having him as a backup and that the Jaguars actually held a workout with him at the beginning of April.
The NFL draft is also one week from today. Some mock drafts and analysts have floated the idea that the Chargers could end up drafting a QB with the 17th pick, or a pick within the first three rounds. Now, I’ve already said that I don’t think the team is taking a QB too early. However, you never know with the draft. Anything could happen, and the team has reportedly shown strong interest in Louisville QB Lamar Jackson.
Put all those factors and storylines together, and you have an interesting QB group right there. Obviously, we know Rivers is at the top, but what follows behind is intriguing. Smith, Jones and a *potential* draft QB? Color me intrigued.