The Los Angeles Chargers have gone quiet in free agency. What moves should we expect to still occur before the draft?
After a slightly more active than usual beginning to free agency from Tom Telesco, the radio has gone silent. Over the past few days, there has been little in the way of rumors or news to report.
Here is a short recap of what has happened so far in free agency from the Chargers team website:
- Feb. 25: Re-signed Jalen Watkins (DB)
- Mar. 9: Re-signed Denzel Perryman (LB)
- Mar. 9: Released Jahleel Addae (S)
- Mar. 13: Re-signed Brandon Mebane (NT)
- Mar 14: Signed Tyrod Taylor (QB)
- Mar 15: Signed Thomas Davis (LB)
- Mar 15: Signed Isaac Rochell (DE) to ERFA tender
- Mar 19: Re-signed Geremy Davis (WR)
At this point, the most glaring needs on the roster have been met with at least lower-tier starters or replacement level players. Depending on the source, the Chargers have $11.8 to $14 million in cap space left, approximately $5.9 million of which will be needed for draft picks.
So now that cap space is limited and eyes are turning toward the draft, what moves are likely to happen and which are not? Here are some moves to look out for, from least to most likely.
Cutting Travis Benjamin – Not Yet
Cutting Travis Benjamin would save the Chargers about $5 million this upcoming year – a substantial amount.
But, before you can cut a player, you have to ask yourself, “If I cut this player, do I have a viable replacement on the roster? Or could I sign a replacement that could do well enough in his role?”
The answer to the first question is no. The total stats for receivers behind Benjamin on the depth chart are as follows: Two catches for 21 yards, all from Geremy Davis.
The answer to the second question is more complicated but still likely no. While there are some aging receivers left on the market, they are mostly there for a reason. Some of these players include the unfortunately injured Demaryius Thomas, a declining Jermaine Kearse, and an underperforming Jordy Nelson.
In a passing league where receivers are at a premium (just look at Tyrell Williams’ new contract for proof), saving $5 million is not quite worth losing a burning deep threat as a number three receiver.
So, unless Telesco really falls in love with a free agent and believes that addition is more valuable than Benjamin, expect Benjamin to remain on the roster – at least until players behind him get a chance to prove themselves in the preseason.
Signing a safety: Unlikely but possible
There is clearly a large hole next to Derwin James in the deep secondary with the departure of Jahleel Addae.
While I agree that we likely do not have a true, reliable coverage safety on the roster, Telesco has previously been hesitant to invest in the safety position. Furthermore, the Chargers are regaining Jaylen Watkins into the secondary rotation.
If the Bolts were fine rolling with Jahleel “Not-a-free-safety” Addae last year, why wouldn’t they be fine rolling with the current rotation of players that they have now?
The only reason this is still a possibility in free agency is that there are definitive starting-level safeties left on the market with few starting safety positions remaining in the league.
Tre Boston, George Iloka, and Glover Quin are three starting-level safeties available that could be signed at a reasonable price point. The talent on the market does make signing a safety an option for Telesco and crew but consider investing in other positions to be more likely.