The Los Angeles Chargers are in search of their new quarterback this offseason, with a former first-overall pick being available in Jameis Winston.
The Philip Rivers era is over and the Los Angeles Chargers will have someone else under center for the first time since 2005. Unlike when Rivers took the job over and fans knew that he was the successor, nobody knows who is going to be quarterbacking the Chargers in 2020.
That is because of the several avenues that the Chargers could take, each spawning their own selection of different options. The Chargers could either turn to the sixth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft for a quarterback or could hit the free-agent market for a quarterback.
The draft appears to be the most likely outcome but I would not rule out the Chargers signing a free agent quarterback, especially considering the team has the third choice of quarterback in the draft.
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Perhaps the most intriguing free agent quarterback not named Tom Brady this offseason is Jameis Winston, who is coming off of a truly historic season. In 2019, Winston became the first quarterback ever to throw 30 interceptions and 30 touchdowns in the same season.
Winston also led the NFL in passing yards, racking up 5,109 yards on the season. Because of his age, 26, and the fact that he had LASIK eye surgery in the offseason, Winston has high potential. He has the arm and athleticism to be successful and with better decision making, and now better eyesight, he might start to reach that potential.
So how would he fit with the Los Angeles Chargers?
Winston would be coming from a team that had two great receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and would be joining a Chargers team with two great receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Not only that, the Chargers have one of the best pass-catching tight ends, if they retain Hunter Henry and one of the best dual-threat backs in Austin Ekeler.
The team also made a huge addition to the offensive line with Trai Turner. If the team were to go the route of Winston, we could assume that the team would select offensive tackle Jedrick Wills with the sixth-overall pick, which would bolster the offensive line in front of Winston.
Winston could perform better in Los Angeles as a result. Not only will his home games be indoors, but he will have more than just deep options, which is what he loved to go to in 2019. Williams, who led the NFL in yards per reception last season, could be the primary deep-ball target.
Aside from that, Winston would have a reliable outlet in Ekeler to stop forcing throws and would have one of the best route runners in the league in Allen. Allen doesn’t just get open, he gets wide open, and that will undoubtedly help Winston’s completion percentage.
It sounds like a great fit, right? Well, not so much.
It appears that Winston is going to get a significant contract this offseason because of his age and untapped potential. Spotrac estimates Winston to get a four-year, $107 million contract. Winston simply is not worth that much to the Chargers, especially when the team has other options and will need to extend the likes of Derwin James, Joey Bosa and several others in the coming years.
Plus, while on paper Winston should be better with more weapons on the Chargers, that did not slow Rivers down from throwing interceptions. The one thing that killed a talented Chargers team last season was turnovers and this would not solve the problem whatsoever.
Would it raise the ceiling of the team? Sure, but the Chargers would be much better off signing a slightly less gifted quarterback that will take care of the ball over Winston. The LASIK eye surgery is a great narrative, but we have not seen it in action and we shouldn’t just assume that is going to make him a good decision-maker.
Simply put: unless Jameis Winston goes on clearance this offseason, he is not a viable fit for the Los Angeles Chargers.