Chargers Free Agency

LA Chargers: Free agent nose tackles to replace Brandon Mebane

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01: Nose tackle Brandon Mebane #92 of the Los Angeles Chargers walks on the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 1, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 23-20. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01: Nose tackle Brandon Mebane #92 of the Los Angeles Chargers walks on the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 1, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 23-20. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

Andrew Billings

Of course, there are cheaper rotational players that the LA Chargers may seek, and Andrew Billings fits this role.

Andrew Billings has the body of an elite run-stuffer in the NFL. At 6’1″ and 328 pounds, Billings is stout and should be able to take on any NFL lineman in the gap and settle in against double teams.

At only 25 years old, Billings has room to improve his game and should not be nearing a decline any time soon. He is a buy-low candidate that the Chargers could take on and develop into a more prominent role, while allowing him to work as a rotational defender immediately.

PFF gave the former fourth-round pick a 69.3 grade for the 2019 season. He was generally overlooked on a putrid Cincinnati Bengals team, but he showed decent tools as a rotational defensive lineman.

In conclusion,

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The Chargers have a clear need for a run-stuffer on the defensive line after cutting Brandon Mebane. They have several options to fill this need, including both free agency and the draft.

Unfortunately, it typically takes even the best of defensive tackle prospects time to develop into an NFL-level starter. For this reason, it may be wiser for the Chargers to dip into the free agency pool for a player.

While there are elite players such as D.J. Reader available, that money would be better spent on the offensive line, where the need is more glaring.

Run-stuffing specialists such as Danny Shelton and Andrew Billings are clear viable options for the Chargers that fans should be happy with.

However, if the Chargers are paying for a role-player in free agency, why not pay for a role-player that has high potential and a relatively low floor? Due to his relatively poor performance in a contract year, Michael Pierce is one of the best options for the Chargers at defensive tackle in the free-agent market.

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If his relatively poor performance is indicative of his future performance, the Chargers will have a 340-pound run-stuffing specialist for a year or two. If Pierce can return to form, the Chargers will have an elite interior defensive lineman for the first time since Jamal Williams. Why not take a shot at this role player with elite potential?

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