Free-agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins finally has a new home.
Hankins, a former second-round pick of the New York Giants. was released by the Indianapolis Colts. Right away, speculation ran rampant that the Los Angeles Chargers, a team with a weakness along the defensive line, would sign him.
Fans wondered aloud as to why general manager Tom Telesco wouldn’t make the move and though it always seemed like a natural fit, the deal never happened.
Instead, Telesco opted to use a third-round pick to select Justin Jones and hope that would be enough to get the team through Corey Liuget’s four-game suspension.
But now, that move won’t ever happen and even worse, Hankins is going to a division rival after agreeing to a deal with the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday. Now, not only will the Chargers not have Hankins, but they’ll have to play against him.
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On Sunday against the Chiefs, the Chargers gave up 106 yards on the ground and the Chiefs averaged nearly four yards per carry. No defensive lineman had more than four tackles for the Bolts.
Signing Hankins made sense for the Chargers, even with Liuget in the lineup as he could rotate with an aging Brandon Mebane and strengthen the run defense, which was terrible last season. However, it’s a name Telesco seems to have just skimmed over as the Raiders just signed him to a one-year deal, proving he wasn’t looking for a crazy, long-term deal.
While this year’s Chargers may prove to be better against the run than last year, there’s almost no doubt that adding Hankins a long time ago would have made it better than it will be this season.