The Los Angeles Chargers have 15 unrestricted free agents heading into 2020. Out of those free agents, seven key decisions will affect not just the next season, but the future of the franchise in general.
2020 is easily the Chargers’ biggest free-agent period in a while. The best quarterback in franchise history is an unrestricted free agent who just moved to Florida. Melvin Gordon, who’s been running back number one for a while, may potentially be on his way out.
Hunter Henry has been a top 10 tight end in the league, if not top five. He’s also unrestricted. No matter how it’s sliced, the Chargers have free agents that can completely change the direction of the team one way or another for years to come.
There are seven free agents that have been key to the Chargers’ last few seasons that will change the way the team works in the future, positively or negatively. In making the list out of the 15 unrestricted free agents, the price in bringing them back and their importance to the team were considered in selecting the seven crucial ones.
Decision No. 1: Philip Rivers
It goes without saying that this is the biggest decision there is in not just free agency, but the whole Chargers’ offseason. Part of the Chargers for 16 seasons and the starter for 14, a departure for Rivers would be a franchise-altering move. And with his reported move to Florida, it feels likelier that he may be on the way out.
Rivers’ arm and decision-making skills have declined, but if the Chargers are prepared to draft another quarterback and have him learn from No. 17, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to have him back for another year.
If the alternative is a 43-year-old Tom Brady who’s about equally as washed, count me in on re-signing Rivers. There are other options for the starter like Tyrod Taylor, Teddy Bridgewater, Tua Tagovailoa, and more that I wrote about over here.
What should happen: A one-year deal for Rivers to bring along the rookie draft pick. This feels like the best option to keep continuity as well as look to the future. Whether it’s Tagovailoa, Jacob Eason, Justin Herbert, or Jake Fromm, any of them could learn a lot from Rivers. He gets one more chance at the Lombardi while a rookie gets a really good environment to develop in.
What will happen: Rivers will leave in free agency, leaving the Chargers to move on to Taylor or a free agent quarterback. It just feels like there are too many signs that point to an exit. Even if this happens though, still expect the Chargers to take a quarterback fairly early in the draft.