The Chargers may make some roster cuts this offseason to generate more cap space. Here’s why Thomas Davis shouldn’t be one of them.
The Chargers have a few two-year deals they could choose to cut short following the 2019 season. Whether it be Travis Benjamin, Brandon Mebane, or Denzel Perryman, either have a chance to be cap casualties. Thomas Davis will be on the final year of his two-year deal as well, which he signed this past offseason. He, however, is more than deserving of returning next season. Here are three reasons the veteran linebacker should remain on the roster next season:
Chargers reason No. 3: He’s been their most consistent presence at linebacker in years
When was the last time the Chargers had a starting linebacker at MIKE or WILL play in all 16 regular season games? It certainly wasn’t last year, where Denzel Perryman, Jatavis Brown, and Kyzir White all could not finish a full slate of 16 games, each of them unable to make a postseason appearance due to season-ending injuries.
Davis has played in all 14 games so far, appearing in over 83 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
Chargers reason No. 2: He’s having a career-best season
Davis was selected to the Pro-Bowl for his 2015, 2016, and 2017 campaigns. Here’s how they stack up against his current season:
2015: 105 combined tackles, 48 run stops, 61 receptions (74.4 completion rate), 89.2 NFL passer rating, 12 missed tackles.
2016: 106 combined tackles, 36 run stops, 64 receptions (79.0 completion rate), 107.5 passer rating, 10 missed tackles.
2017: 76 combined tackles, 35 run stops, 44 receptions (80.0 completion rate), 127.5 passer rating, seven missed tackles.
2019 (14 games so far): 107 combined tackles, 38 run stops, 47 receptions (74.6 completion rate), 94.9 passer rating, 16 missed tackles.
As of right now, his Pro Football Focus run defense grade is the highest of his entire career.
Chargers reason No. 1: His positive effect on other linebackers
By season’s end, Perryman will have tied his rookie season personal-best 14 games played, where he had only been in 16 the past two years. Brown will finish with 13 games played, but at the very least he appears on track to finish the season healthy. White, who only appeared in about 13 percent of the team’s defensive snaps last season, has bumped it up to nearly 40 percent this year. In fact, the second-year pro hasn’t missed a game all season.
And then there’s rookie Drue Tranquill, who although inconsistent at times is further ahead in his development as a rookie than a fourth-round pick should be.
Maybe it’s a leap of faith to assume Davis is responsible for any of this, but one can’t help but think his stable presence this offseason and through the regular season has helped stabilize the linebacker corps.