Chargers Free Agency

LA Chargers: Jason Peters should be the biggest free agency priority

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 05: Jason Peters #71 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during the NFC Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field on January 5, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 05: Jason Peters #71 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during the NFC Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field on January 5, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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The LA Chargers have done a great job in bolstering the offensive line this offseason and could get the icing on the cake in veteran left tackle, Jason Peters.

The LA Chargers‘ offensive line heading into the 2020 season, even if nothing else changes, already looks significantly better than it did last year.

General manager Tom Telesco has done a great job of adding external pieces in order to shore up the team’s weakest point. Telesco flipped Russell Okung for Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner and continued to bolster the right side of the line by signing longtime Green Bay Packer, Bryan Bulaga.

The hope is that Mike Pouncey can stay healthy and perform up to his best level at center and that competition between Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney at left guard can bring the best out of at least one of the young linemen.

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The only position, really, that still needs to be addressed is left tackle, and it is not an absolute necessity. If the season were to start today, second-year tackle Trey Pipkins would be the starting left tackle and would not be a terrible option.

Pipkins showed some really positive signs in his rookie season. He still is raw in his fundamentals but was more than serviceable when the Chargers called on him last season. He would be a better option than Trenton Scott or Sam Tevi.

There are some concerns about Pipkins if he does not take that next step and continues to struggle with the fundamentals, which could be detrimental while protecting the quarterback’s blind spot. Because of that, adding a left tackle before the season is something the Chargers could look to accomplish.

The 2020 NFL Draft would be a good outlet as it is deep in exterior offensive linemen but the Chargers have other needs to fill as well. They are likely going to draft a quarterback, need a third receiver and might be too intrigued by Isaiah Simmons to pass on him if they don’t select a quarterback in round one.

With that in mind, the Chargers might not be looking to draft a tackle until the third or fourth round, which at that point, would not even be worth it and Pipkins would be better off starting.

That suddenly makes free agency more appealing, and in particular, showcases the Chargers’ need to make Jason Peters the team’s number one priority in free agency moving forward.

Peters is heading into his 16th season in the NFL and is 38 years old. There might be concerns about him staying healthy but in the last seven years, he only has one season in which he played less than 13 games.

With his talent and veteran presence, you take the risk on Peters staying healthy knowing that you have Pipkins as the backup option, which is not a bad outlook, whatsoever.

Peters might not be a Pro Bowler anymore but he is an adequate pass-blocker that would do tremendous in protecting the quarterback’s blindside. More importantly, he would be a short-term commitment, which keeps his contract from restricting the team in the future while allowing the team to bet on Pipkins’ progression.

If Pipkins does not show the right signs of being able to take over the role after 2020 then the team drafts a tackle. Peters essentially buys them a year.

Spotrac estimates Peters’s market value to be a one-year, $7.8 million contract. After the 2020 NFL Draft, the Chargers have an estimated $15 million in remaining cap space. It might be a little less after concrete cap figures are released, but they have space.

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They could afford Peters and he would be much more helpful to the team than signing a potential breakout wide receiver or anything else that is still available on the market.

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