Every year you hear it – “That’s a Super Bowl-or-Bust Team!” or “That’s a Super Bowl-or-Bust Trade!” Is it time for the Los Angeles Chargers to make a few of those kinds of moves?
Generally, Tom Telesco has been a conservative, long-term oriented general manager. While it is possible that this is just the way Telesco runs, this approach has been necessary for him up to this point since most of his past teams have required rebuilding after A.J. Smith’s poor later years.
So, perhaps it is time to ask if this team is ready to transition into managing with more short-term goals in mind. To decide, it is best to look at how this has gone for teams in the past.
Believe it or not, the New England Patriots’ dynasty has had a history of making these types of moves.
Some trades that come to mind include trading a first and third round picks for Brandin Cooks, trading a fifth-round pick for Josh Gordon, trading a second and seventh round pick for Wes Welker, and trading a second round pick for Kony Ealy and a late third round pick.
Any move where draft capital is traded away can be considered a short-term move. While not all of these moves have worked out for the Patriots, they have demonstrated that a team can make bold offseason moves designed to win now while maintaining a winning team over more than a decade.
Now, not every team is gifted with the blunder of a division that the Patriots have had. However, looking at the losing team in the Super Bowl demonstrates that short-term fixes can work for a few years.
The Los Angeles Rams traded a second and a fourth for Marcus Peters and a sixth, unloaded a lot of cap space on a risky but talented player in Ndamukong Suh, and traded a third and fifth-round pick for Dante Fowler Jr., who is just a rental player on a one-year contract.
Most of the last teams remaining in any season have made trades that help in the short term but hurt in the long term. Still, that team needs to be close to real contention for those trades (especially rental players) to make sense.
Are the Chargers one of those teams? Absolutely.
While I do not believe the Bolts as a team are in a Super Bowl-or-bust window yet, it is time to start making some splashy moves that help the case for Super Bowl contention in the next two to three years. After all, they are currently one of the favorites for next year.
The Chargers should be wary of selling any of their existing young talent, but they should make trades that would cost future talent for a Super Bowl run now.
As an example of such a trade, consider the idea that the Chargers should trade for Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard. Howard has stated that he wants to be paid top dollar in free agency, but he has another year left on his cheap rookie deal.
If the Dolphins do not want to pay up for Howard, they should offer at least a third-round pick for a one-year rental. If the Dolphins want more, perhaps a lower 2020 pick could be added to the deal. A second-round pick is a bit rich to me, but it is not out of the range of debate for the fun Pro Bowl corner.
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To push further, if the Chargers have the chance to get a bonafide, healthy starting linebacker on a three-year deal for a first and third-round pick (think of a Brandin Cooks-type trade), it is time to pull the trigger. While the Bolts have a good, young core, all it would take is Philip Rivers’ retirement to end optimism at another Super Bowl run for a while.
When you have a special core, you have to maximize the potential championship runs of that core. The Chargers have a special group now, and it might not last much longer.
Of course, the Chargers should not overdo such a short-term trade or signing (i.e. give up too much for too little), but caution has seemed to be a strong suit for Telesco in the past. Now it’s time to throw some of that caution to the wind.
Do you agree that this offseason is the time to make win-now moves as opposed to more long-term moves? Leave your opinions in the comment section below!