In the absence of Hunter Henry due to injury, the Los Angels Chargers signed Lance Kendricks to bolster their tight end depth.
The Chargers announced on Tuesday in a flurry of moves that they would be signing Lance Kendricks and Chris Peace, while placing Adrian Phillips on injured reserve and adding Adarius Pickett to the practice squad.
We’ve signed TE Lance Kendricks, re-signed DE Chris Peace, placed S Adrian Phillips on injured reserve and added S Adarius Pickett to our practice squad.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) September 17, 2019
The signing of Kendricks is fairly self-explanatory with the loss of Henry. The team also worked out Luke Willson last week. Kendricks had a brief stint with the New England Patriots earlier this year before being waived in a series of moves that made room for receiver Antonio Brown.
He served a one-game suspension in Week 1 related to the NFL’s policy and program of substances of abuse. There isn’t much concern as he’s essentially a one-time offender with little risk of failing a drug test again.
Getting into Kendricks’ actual style of play, he fulfills a decent run-blocking tight end role with the Chargers. He was ranked 11th by PFF in run blocking by tight ends last year. Receiving situations are probably going to be scarce for him as the team already had Virgil Green, but there’s potential to run some two-tight end sets in there.
While he may not have a big presence in the receiving game, Kendricks can do whatever is asked of him. His main purpose is to provide another body and some run blocking in the absence of Henry.
Kendricks is also still fairly young and is the same age as Green. Both are 31 and don’t have a ton of wear or tear or an extended history of injuries. While there was some clamoring amongst fans to bring back the beloved Antonio Gates, it made sense to go after someone who’s ultimately younger and more currently skilled.
Gates is 39 years old already and even when he came back last season, it was clear the Chargers were prepared to move on had Henry not torn his ACL.
The corresponding moves are somewhat interesting here.
Obviously, the unfortunate forearm break for Phillips is a heartbreaker, but bringing in preseason standout like Pickett onto the practice squad is a decent move. Peace isn’t a name that was expected back, which makes me wonder a little bit about the defensive ends.
Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa aren’t officially injured right now, but they did both limp at points last game and could be somewhat banged up. Isaac Rochell was in concussion protocol earlier in the season. A depth move at defensive end wouldn’t be a bad idea.
The Chargers are trying to do what they can do stay above water in these next few weeks to deal with the unfortunate injury luck they’ve had. So far, they’ve played most things right in terms of going after the right depth players in my view.