The Chargers frequently add talent to the offensive line via free agency. Will history repeat itself?
The Los Angeles Chargers are in need of help on the offensive line, most evident in the team’s most recent Divisional Round collapse at the hands of the New England Patriots. They’re in a bit of a conundrum when it comes to player personnel, as they want to allow their younger talent to develop but also cannot stand idle in free agency assuming that they do. Based on history, though, it appears that the Chargers may seek outside help to bolster the line.
The list of big-contract free agents on the offensive line signed by Tom Telesco are as follows:
- 2015: Signed LT King Dunlap to a four year, $28 million deal
- 2015: Signed LG Orlando Franklin to a five year, $36.5 million deal
- 2016: Signed RT Joe Barksdale to a four year, $22.2 million deal
- 2017: Signed LT Russell Okung to a four year, $53 million deal
- 2018: Signed C Mike Pouncey to a two year, $15 million deal
Dunlap and Barksdale spent time with the team as cheap free agent acquisitions prior to their pay raise, being rewarded for strong play at their respective tackle positions. Unfortunately, injuries cut both their careers with the Chargers short, as Dunlap retired due to a number of physical problems and Barksdale was shortly replaced by Sam Tevi following a myriad of injuries that kept him sidelined.
Franklin was released early into his tenure with the Bolts, having failed to be anything more than a below-average guard for the Chargers. The team’s more recent major signings, Okung and Pouncey, have been the most rewarding: Both have been to a Pro-Bowl in their short time thus far.
The biggest free agent name associated with the Chargers this offseason has been former Miami Dolphins right tackle Ja’Wuan James, who at just 27 years old gives the team an option on the right side of the line for years to come. He could also reunite with Pouncey, a former Dolphins teammate who experienced a positive year in his first season with the Bolts.
How aggressive Telesco will be in the free agent market for offensive linemen this offseason is unknown. While the team may bank on the further development of LG Dan Feeney and RT Sam Tevi in their third seasons, they have shown, as it was last year with C Spencer Pulley, that they are willing to move on from internal player development in favor of a proven veteran.