Chargers’ best decision No. 1: Not spending money on prize free agents
What happened: Despite “ties” to players such as Earl Thomas, Ndamukong Suh (unsigned still), and C.J. Mosley, the Chargers opted to use their cap space to bring in small-cost veterans and re-sign their own players.
Why it’s a good move: The Chargers currently have a two-year plan with their roster; just look at how many players they have under contract in 2021. It’s clear the team is preparing to change the direction of their franchise, if need be. Telesco appears to be in no hurry to make those five, six-year contracts with massive amounts of guaranteed money happen, at least not where outside free agents are concerned. The veteran general manager has begun to rely more on the draft to fill out his roster. Last year, a similar strategy produced a 12-4 team who made it to the Divisional Round.
The Chargers had every opportunity to cut or extend players to make room for big-name free agents, but as of now have opted to pass on them. There were massive needs at free safety and defensive tackle, and there was a chance the Bolts filled one through free agency. The team decided to wait until the draft, which netted them instant starters in Jerry Tillery and Nasir Adderley. Adderley, in particular, is a perfect example of why overpaying in free agency is not necessary, and why fans should hold off on their criticism until after the draft. The Chargers could be in one of two scenarios right now:
- Signed 30 year old Earl Thomas to a four-year, $55 million contract with $20 million guaranteed coming off a season-ending injury (PFF grade of 91.3).
- Drafted Nasir Adderley in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft (PFF grade of 90.3).
Adderley is the unknown, and has yet to take an NFL snap. However, given his projected role and his excellence as a free safety, it’s not out of the question to say that most every Chargers fan is happier with the second option. Telesco stuck with his philosophy, and it paid off.