LA Chargers: Why signing a free agent wide receiver might not happen

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) - LA Chargers
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) - LA Chargers /

The LA Chargers have already made some great additions in free agency this offseason and still have more salary-cap space to spend.

LA Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has hit a home run thus far this offseason. Telesco has extended Austin Ekeler, retained Hunter Henry with the franchise tag, flipped Russell Okung for Trai Turner and signed Bryan Bulaga, Linval Joseph and Chris Harris.

It is not even April yet.

Telesco has done a wonderful job of adding to an already talented roster in order to best maximize the team’s success in 2020. He may not even be done, either, as the team still has some money in the bank to spend.

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According to estimates from Daniel Popper of The Athletic, the Chargers have around $9 million to spend on free agency after factoring in the 2020 NFL Draft and budgeting for in-season moves.

That is enough to sign one, if not two, more free agents prior to the 2020 season. Of course, the team could look to save the cap space if there is not a great fit, but based on the trend of the offseason, I think they butt right against that number.

There is some expectation that the Chargers are going to use that remaining cap space on a third receiver, as right now, the receiving corps looks very thin outside of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

Andre Patton, Jason Moore and Jalen Guyton are the three options for the third wide receiver spot, which is not the best outlook for the team.

However, while that is alarmingly thin outside of the top two, the LA Chargers actually do not need to spend the remaining cap space on a wide receiver. If there is an absolute bargain on someone who would make a difference then sure, go for it. But if there are other options to use that money then that should be the route that the team takes.

First of all, there are not many great options still available. Taylor Gabriel is arguably the best receiver on the market and while he is capable to be a WR3, he is not someone to get overly excited about. He has athleticism and potential, but because of that, he may become overpriced.

There are some risky signings the Chargers could take as well. Tavon Austin and Demaryius Thomas are two former first-round picks that are on the market that we explored in an article earlier in the week. They could be fine as a third receiver but also have a good chance of not panning out.

It would not be a huge risk on a one-year contract but it is far from being a guarantee.

I would much rather see the team use that cap space on a veteran left tackle, such as Jason Peters, a solid linebacker, such as Alec Ogletree, or a change-of-pace running back in Devonta Freeman.

Heck, I would rather the team take a gamble on Cam Newton at quarterback if his price ends up being low enough.

Is there a situation in which the LA Chargers could bring in a receiver and bring in one of the names mentioned above? Yes, if the price is right. But it is not as big of a necessity as it may seem.

The Chargers could add a solid WR3 in the second-fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft that will be more than talented enough to be a viable option in the passing attack. The team does not need a huge difference-maker at the position, they just need more depth and need someone who can capitalize on the other weapons around him.

We already know that the Chargers might be running the ball more often with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback and with Allen, Williams, a top-two pass-catching running back in Austin Ekeler and a top pass-catching tight end in Hunter Henry, the team can afford to develop a rookie in the WR3 position.

Next. The best-case scenario prospects for round 2

Any of the receiver names mentioned above would be better than Andre Patton at WR3. However, because of the draft and because of the other talent surrounding the quarterback, a free-agent wide receiver might not be in the cards at all for the LA Chargers.