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Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams and Adrian Phillips are winners of free agency

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 13: Wide receiver Mike Williams #81 and wide receiver Geremy Davis #11 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrate after a touchdown during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on December 13, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 13: Wide receiver Mike Williams #81 and wide receiver Geremy Davis #11 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrate after a touchdown during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on December 13, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Chargers are moving on from safety Jahleel Addae and wide receiver Tyrell Williams, which gives Adrian Phillips and Mike Williams major boosts heading into 2019. 

The departure of two veteran Los Angeles Chargers playmakers means a pair of the team’s rising young stars may shine even brighter this coming season.

General manager Tom Telesco decided to cut ties with safety Jahleel Addae and wide receiver Tyrell Williams during the free agency period. The 29-year-old defensive back is currently searching for a new team, while the Oregon-born pass catcher is heading to the Oakland Raiders.

Williams has been a consistent contributor to the passing attack since 2015. Although Addae struggled in 2018, the safety was a heavy hitter in the backfield for six seasons. But these transactions should pave the way for two up-and-comers to rise up the team’s ranks.

Wide receiver Mike Williams and safety Adrian Phillips proved last season that they are ready to assume greater responsibilities on their respective sides of the ball.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 04: Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers scores a touchdown past Bradley McDougald #30 of the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter at CenturyLink Field on November 04, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 04: Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers scores a touchdown past Bradley McDougald #30 of the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter at CenturyLink Field on November 04, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

After a tumultuous rookie season, Williams emerged as a dangerous pass-catching threat in the red zone in 2018. The former Clemson Tiger hauled in a team-high 10 touchdown receptions last year. This included a two-touchdown catch performance in the Chargers’ Week 15 road win over the Kansas City Chiefs, where he also snagged the game-winning two-point conversion.

He had seven receptions for 76 receiving yards in that game, along with a rushing touchdown.

The 24-year-old wideout displayed great growth in his second season as a pro. Williams’ outing against the Chiefs symbolized that because he was a significant contributor to arguably the Chargers’ biggest win since 2013. He proved he should be inserted into the second starting position on the wide receiver depth chart opposite Keenan Allen.

Another player who took big strides last season was Phillips, who will pair nicely with Pro Bowl safety Derwin James. The Dallas, Texas product finished the 2018 campaign with 94 combined tackles, 65 solo tackles, and nine passes defended. His solo tackle total was second-highest on the team behind James.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JANUARY 06: Adrian Phillips #31 of the Los Angeles Chargers intercepts a pass by Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JANUARY 06: Adrian Phillips #31 of the Los Angeles Chargers intercepts a pass by Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Much like Williams, the 26-year-old safety had a breakout performance in one of the Chargers’ biggest games of the season. Phillips racked up six combined tackles, three solo tackles and an interception in L.A.’s AFC Wild Card Playoff victory over the Baltimore Ravens. The defensive back played a key role in containing Baltimore’s lethal rushing attack.

There is still plenty of room for further improvement from both Williams and Phillips, but their enhanced roles on the team should do exactly that. Furthermore, promoting these two into starting roles would rule out any chemistry concerns that would come with acquiring new players.

Only time will tell how well the pair will do in 2019, but Chargers fans should be excited about the potential Williams and Phillips bring to the team as starters heading into the season.

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