It’s never easy trying to figure out where to start fine tuning a team with a winning record.
Brutal defenses worry offensive lines and unsettle quarterbacks. The Los Angeles Chargers should look at upgrading the pass rush unit.
Upgrading the pass rush unit
It’s February and the Super Bowl is fresh in the memory, but talk of the 2019 NFL draft and the free agency window whets the appetite for the season ahead.
The Chargers have got to add juice to their roster. In my column last week, I wrote about Anthony Lynn raising the bar. Achieving another 12-4 record will not be an easy task. Success in 2019 will come down to offseason recruitment and luck, i.e. keeping the 53-man roster fit.
I’ve previously suggested that Trent Brown should be a consideration to bolster the offensive line. What about the defense, should Tom Telesco roll the dice and add depth to the pass rush? The Chargers spent most of the 2018 season without Joey Bosa. No.99 returned to post 7.5 sacks through nine games (two in the playoffs). The Chargers’ other pass rusher, Melvin Gordon, posted nine sacks, two came in the playoffs.
The Chargers were ranked ninth in team sacks, with 38. Compare that to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers, both teams tied for the league lead with an impressive total of 52 sacks. The Chiefs have three top-end pass rushers on their roster in Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Chris Jones.
Creating additional cap space
Three are three notable Chargers players who could be cut in favor of upgrades to the roster:
- Corey Liuget – 2019 Cap Figure ($9.5m)
- Travis Benjamin – 2019 Cap Figure ($6.5m)
- Jahleel Addae – 2019 Cap Figure ($6.m)
Benjamin’s absence should be the easiest to live without, especially if Telesco offers Tyrell Williams a new contract. Addae has performed below par, he hasn’t played to the same level as Derwin James. Benjamin is way down on the depth chart, he had 12 receptions for 186 yards in 2018.
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The Chargers need to upgrade their roster, especially if the front office has an appetite to reach the AFC Championship. Tyler Gallagher, writing for Bolt Beat, also believes the Chargers should throw caution to the wind.
Telesco will have the most important word on this topic. Ford would be a welcome addition to the Chargers’ roster. A move for Ford would be bold, they need quality additions on both sides of the football. The AFC West will be as tough as ever in 2019, and the Chargers need to be in the mix from Week 1.
2019 promises to be another exciting season for the Chargers.
*Salaries taken from spotrac.com