Be aggressive in the offseason
The 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans all invested in premier players to address their needs in free agency or via trade, while other teams eliminated along the way also owe their success to a good free agency.
The Packers may be the clearest example of this. Lacking a pass rush, they invested in a pair of premier pass rushers in Za’darius Smith and Preston Smith, who have been very effective this season, and along with safety Adrian Amos, have transformed Mike Pettine’s defense into a fearsome unit.
The 49ers bolstered their depth at the running back position by signing one of the better running backs from that free-agent class in Tevin Coleman, just a year after signing Jerick McKinnon to a big contract. They also signed coveted linebacker Kwon Alexander and traded for edge rusher Dee Ford.
The Titans made a trio of signings. Former Rams guard Roger Saffold was signed, and he proceeded to start all 16 games this season for Tennessee. Adam Humphries was brought in after his breakout season to bolster their wide receiver corps, although he hadn’t had the impact they expected before he succumbed to injury.
They also signed veteran outside linebacker Cameron Wake, who performed well for their defense before his season was cut short by an injury. Last but definitely not least was their trade for Ryan Tannehill from the Miami Dolphins. He was an afterthought to many, but he has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL since he took over for Marcus Mariota.
The Chiefs made a few moves as well. The biggest was their signing of star safety Tyrann Mathieu, but other moves included signing cornerback Bashaud Breeland, defensive end Alex Okafor, and trading for Frank Clark to replace Ford.
The Chargers are not usually very active in free agency, and their biggest signings in recent years are Russell Okung and Mike Pouncey. They are also very conservative in trading scenarios, barely ever making big-time trades involving more than a third-round pick.
If Telesco wants to capitalize on the talent this team has, he will probably have to be a little more aggressive this offseason. Luckily for him, the Chargers have the cap space available to make it happen.